...X99 retains the performance crown without a serious challenge - but Skylake finally brings DDR4 and a decent chipset to the masses.
Intel is bringing clarity to the 2015 premium consumer processor lineup with the launch of the Skylake-based Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K.
Though not quite ready to reveal the secret sauce that powers these two processors that harness a revised architecture, Skylake performance is a small step up from the Haswell, Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge CPUs many users have been clinging on to.
Be aware that being invited to the Skylake party requires further investment in a Z170 motherboard and, most likely, DDR4 RAM, with the latter not widely available in 8GB sticks just yet. The outlay is considerable, dampening the excitement that often greets a new architecture, but early adopters will receive ancillary benefits such as dedicated PCIe lanes to super-fast storage and that extra dollop of performance which regular Haswell cannot deliver.
It could be successfully argued that Intel hasn't pulled out any of the stops with desktop Skylake because it doesn't need to. Rival AMD is, for now, releasing its own incremental updates to APUs whose CPU performance is shattered by four-year-old Sandy Bridge, while the long-in-the-tooth FX series is compromised by a chipset that is out of date.
No enthusiast would have batted a lid if Intel had seen out the year with Haswell-based processors - they are plenty fast enough, while X99 retains the performance crown without a serious challenge - but Skylake finally brings DDR4 and a decent chipset to the masses.
The Core i7-6700K is at the vanguard of the 2015 Skylake rollout, and while it's better than the popular Core i7-4770K/4790K in every way whilst costing about the same, the improvement isn't nearly as much as we were hoping for. Still, thinking of building a new PC platform and want it as futureproof as possible? Skylake is where you start.
Fastest mainstream processor
Reasonable IPC improvement
Decent overclocking potential
Needs a new platform
Intel Core i7-6700K
The Intel Core i7-6700K is available to order from Scan Computers.
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