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Intel "Skylake" Core i7-6700K CPU (Z170 Chipset and GT530) Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 5, 2015 12:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Intel

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the Intel i7-6700K.

 

What's Hot

 

Solid IPC and Integrated Graphics Improvements: I think Intel did a solid job with the performance improvements in the new lineup of Skylake CPUs. Even though the drivers are relatively young, everything worked very well and the 6700K consistently outperformed its predecessors. I think that Intel has delivered with this new CPU, and if you are still using Sandy Bridge, I think Skylake would be a worthwhile upgrade. The improvements to the integrated graphics are also pretty impressive, and if these increases in integrated graphics performance continue, many people will start to forgo purchasing a discrete video card for some gaming needs.

 

Strong Overclocking: It seems that ever since Sandy Bridge launched everyone uses it as a benchmark for overclocking potential, and I think Skylake might actually hit that benchmark and could set a new one in the future. Not only is overclocking easy to undertake on the new platform, but Intel has provided more tuning "knobs" than ever before.

 

 

Z170 PCH Is Crazy Connected: The Z170 PCH is one chipset that has really got me excited. I do go a little nuts over motherboards, but with Z170, it's justified. The sheer possibilities and amount of connectivity is insane. Intel not only made PCI-E 2.0 a legacy connection, they also increased the number of ports above that of X99, and increased the DMI bus to handle all the extra bandwidth. Intel also added RAID ability to M.2, a very welcome change towards making M.2 the next big thing.

 

No more FIVR: While the FIVR is a great idea, especially in the mobile field where motherboard real-estate is in high demand, I never really thought it would do wonders on the desktop. For overclocking, the FIVR did help a little by maintaining clean power flow, but it was unnecessary on the desktop, adding heat to the CPU die where there otherwise wouldn't be any. The high cold bug temperature of Haswell was also attributed to the FIVR, so extreme overclockers also welcome its removal.

 

What's Not

 

Same Core Count as its Predecessor: Just like Broadwell, Haswell, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge the mainstream socket hasn't had a core increase in a long time. I know there are a lot of people out there who would like a hexa-core in the mainstream segment.

 

You will need a new motherboard and possibly memory: The 6700K will only work in a socket LGA1151 motherboard, and while the removal of the FIVR requires this socket change, the need for a new motherboard does raise the cost of adopting the new platform. Many users are also used to carrying over their older DDR3 kits, but not many manufacturers are going to provide Z170 motherboards with DDR3L support, and so you will need to buy some new memory, unless you are already an adopter of X99.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

intel-skylake-core-i7-6700k-cpu-z170-chipset-gt530-review_79

 

This entire review was done with a retail sample of the 6700K, which gives me hope that CPUs in the channel will overclock and perform the same as mine. I almost hesitate to say it, but Skylake has me as excited as Sandy Bridge had me almost half a decade ago. The new chipset paired with the new CPU has some tangible advantages over previous Intel platforms. Intel's suggested retail pricing is $350, which makes it a replacement for the 4770K, and I think that is a very fair price for the 6700K.

 

I am not sure of the price of the 6700K, but I do think Intel will price it aggressively (between 4770K and 4790K) considering it is a mainstream part and doesn't carry any expensive silicon like eDRAM (hint: 5775C). That being said, I feel like Intel hit their CPU and GPU performance improvement targets. From my numbers, I would estimate that Intel made a 5-10% IPC improvement in CPU performance and 10-25% in integrated GPU improvements. Combine the IPC improvements with a 4GHz base frequency and some pretty awesome overclocking, and I think Intel has a winner on their hands.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance96%
Quality including Design and Build94%
General Features95%
Bundle and Packaging89%
Value for Money95%
Overall TweakTown Rating94%

The Bottom Line: Combine the IPC improvements with a 4GHz base frequency and some pretty awesome overclocking, and I think Intel has a winner on its hands with its new "Skylake" Core i7-6700K processor and Z170 chipset.

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