Monthly Archives: August 2015

  • The sky’s the limit – new chipset heralds exciting innovation

    Updated 21/08/2015

    Intel’s eagerly awaited 5th Generation Processors were something of a disappointment with delays seeing stock almost unobtainable. Then suddenly we have news that Skylake, Intel’s much anticipated 6th generation desktop processor architecture, is here!

    This is truly exciting news.  This new generation is built on the same 14nm manufacturing process as Broadwell, but whilst arguably Broadwell was a die shrink with a handful of improvements (all be them noteworthy), in contrast Skylake is a full architecture refresh, serving as a “tock” in Intel’s “tick-tock” manufacturing and design model.

    Skylake is built on then new LGA1151 socket which takes existing LGA1150/1155 CPU coolers and brings with it a new chipset dubbed the 100-Series. This heralds increased port flexibility with up to 40% more high-speed I/O and support for PCIe storage including up to four M.2 and two SATA Express connections.

    Intel states that Skylake is its “most significant processor” for a decade, due to its enhanced power efficiency and wire-free capabilities. So what’s so important?

    Graphics

    By far the biggest news is Skylake uses Intel’s well respected Iris Graphics technology. Previously only seen on selected workstations, its powerful capability will give discrete graphics technology something to worry about. Whilst Haswell could drive a 4K monitor at only 30Hz, and Broadwell could drive a single 4K monitor at 60Hz, Skylake is capable of driving three 4K panels at 60Hz.

    Performance

    The CPU core itself is more efficient and able to handle more instructions simultaneously than Haswell or Broadwell CPUs. Skylake also supports faster DDR4 memory modules, but remains backward compatible with DDR3 memory for convenience.

    Power

    As expected this next generation of chip is more energy efficient. Details are limited on just how much, but new features like Speed Shift lets the CPU intelligently change its power state to reduce energy consumption.

    Security

    Intel has introduced SGX or Software Guard eXtensions. SGX is aimed at reducing privileged attacks by malware in a system. SGX works hand in hand with Intel’s Memory Protection eXtensions, which are also designed to build isolated sections of memory to harden defenses.

    The new family of Skylake processors will be available in Intel Core i3 and Core i5 and Core i7 formats, although first shipments are for i7 and i5 only, with i3 to follow shortly.

    We’re very excited about the potential of Skylake and are eagerly awaiting our first batch of processors so we can begin integrating into our products. Watch this space for further news.

    In the meantime, if you have questions surrounding Intel Skylake or its role in our products please contact us.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News