Intel is holding a coming out party for its 6th-generation Core family of processors. The company launched two desktop chips based on the “Skylake” platform in August, but now Intel is expanding the lineup with a wide range of processors designed to use anywhere from 4.5 watts to 91 watts of power.
I’m most interested in the more energy-efficient side of things, which is where you’ll find the Skylake-U and Skylake-Y series chips designed for notebooks, tablets, convertibles, and low-power desktops including Intel NUC and Compute Stick-style devices.
All of the chips should offer modest CPU performance gains over the 5th-gen Core “Broadwell” chips they replace, but graphics performance should be as much as 40 percent better. And to be fair, most people won’t be upgrading from Broadwell to Skylake. They’ll be upgrading from a PC that may be 3 years old or older. Intel says Skylake chips are 2.5 times as fast and offer 30 times the graphics performance of a system with 5-year-old hardware.
Meanwhile, the new chips use less power than their predecessors, offering much longer battery life (assuming you’re using a device with the same battery capacity).
The Skylake-U family consists of a series of dual-core processor with a 15 watt TDP. The most affordable (and least powerful) chips in this lineup include the Celeron 3855U, Celeron 3955U, and Pentium 4405U with Intel HD 510 graphics. Higher-performance chips range from the Core i3-6100U to the Core i7-6600U, all of which feature Intel HD 520 graphics.
Other features include support for Intel WiDi wireless display technology, RealSense 3D camera tech, and Windows 10-specific features including hardware support for Cortana voice assistant and Windows Hello biometric security features as well as support for DirectX 12 and DDR4 memory.
As expected, Skylake-Y chips will be branded as Intel Core M3, Core M5, or Core M7 processors. these are 4.5 watt dual-core chips with support for hyperthreading and Intel HD 515 graphics. Some Core M Skylake chips will be available with Intel vPro technology.
Wondering what kind of device will feature Skylake-Y processors? You might find them in low-power tablets and 2-in-1s. But Intel is also expanding its line of Intel Compute Stick mini-desktop computers with new models featuring Core M chips. We kind of expected that too.
We’ll see many of the first Skylake-powered products at the IFA trade show this week, but Intel says we should expect to see even more products in the coming months… which makes sense because some Skylake chips aren’t actually ready to launch just yet.
Intel plans to launch additional chips in the new few months, including the first laptop processors to wear the Xeon name, more powerful Skylake-H quad-core chips for laptops, and Skylake-U and Skylake-H processors with higher-performance Intel Iris Pro graphics.