As portable laptops and hybrid devices continue to hedge out the desktop PC market, tech firms are starting to realize what a giant chunk of the PC market is now taken up by gamers. Most smartphones and tablets can handle very basic low-res games, but for those who rely on a high-performance, stutter-free system for their advanced-level gaming needs, a small portable device isn’t going to cut it - a desktop PC that can actually meet the power needs of today’s expansive PC game offerings is pretty much the only option for that sect of gamers. Intel has taken note of this trend and is now catering to that market specifically with the first round of processors in their new ‘Skylake Generation’, which are designed with PC performance enthusiasts in mind.
The Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K are the first from Intel’s sixth-generation Core processor family, codenamed Skylake. These 14-nanometer chips are unlocked for maximum overclocking (all the “K” series CPUs will be), and Intel claims they should provide roughly a ten percent boost in overall performance from their previous generation of high-end desktop CPUs. Both processors will feature a quad-core design with 8MB of LG cache and impressive clock speeds (the i5-6600K runs at a base 3.5GHz speed with the ability to overclock up to 3.9GHz, while the i7-6700K runs a little faster at 4.0GHz and has the ability to overclock up to 4.8GHz). And just to further sweeten the pot for these tiny performance boosters, the Intel Skylake line utilizes a new Z170 chipset, which adds USB 3.1 Type-C and Thunderbolt 3.0 support. The only current downside I can see to the new architecture is that you will need a whole new motherboard or PC to take advantage of it, as Skylake CPUs use a new LGA1151 socket that is incompatible with the LGA1150 motherboards used for Haswell and Broadwell. But if you’re an avid gamer looking to upgrade soon, the Skylake chips are something I’d keep my eye out for in your next big PC buy.
Intel has yet to divulge when the new processors will start to hit retail shelves, but they have confirmed that Origin has already introduced the Skylake CPUs in its Genesis, Millennium and Chronos gaming desktops. Other popular high-end gaming PC makers like Maingear and CyberPower plan to start similarly incorporating the new technology into their own desktop rigs in the coming months – and that’s only the beginning for Skylake. Intel has promised to bring the overclocking-ready chips to notebooks later this year, and assure us that tablets and hybrids will follow shortly after.
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