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Intel launches 6th-gen i5 and i7 processors, built specifically for gaming

Now that Windows 10 is out the door, Intel has followed up the PC announcements with the launch of two new processors. The latest i7 and i5 chips are from the company's 6th-generation family, codenamed Skylake. The new processors have been specifically designed and manufactured for gamers and performance enthusiasts.

The quad-core Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K are clocked at 4GHz and 3.5GHz respectively. Due to the move to the new microarchitecture, a motherboard with a free LGA1151 CPU socket will be required for compatibility with the newly announced chips.

The unlocked chips will set you back $243 for the i5 and $350 for the i7. The company also announced plans to deliver an unlocked 6th Gen Intel processor "K" SKU for enthusiast notebooks later this year. This will be the first unlocked enthusiast SKU for mobile. We'll hopefully have more details at a later date.

Source: Intel, via: The Verge

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

109 Comments
  • 10% increase over the i7 4790k? No thank you, I'm happy with my 4790k :P
  • Obviously this is for people who either upgrade each generation or only upgrade after several years. There's no reason to buy this if your still happy with your current system.
  • Let me explain, I was waiting for skylake processors but everyone was talking that this processors would only be launched next year.. After reading so many things I end up not to wait anymore ( and this processors are also mainly developed to be battery frendly, so no point wait for them to build a desktop) So I bought and build my machine (z97 chipset with an gtx 970) last month and for what I'm seeing, I'm not regretting my decision :)
  • Oh I wouldn't either haha with that, it's good enough for almost anything.
  • Keep telling yourself that :P If I bought something that was outdated in a month I'd be pretty bummed out. You should have waited.
  • I think the point is that it ISN'T outdated.
  • something is outdated if it can't run new software. his setup will be able to handle any software for years and a 10% speed boost isn't even noticable in day to day use.
  • Agreed.  I've only had my 4790K for a few months and I love it.  Absolutely no need to spend another $350 for a 10% increase.  Now, if someone were coming from a first gen i7 or other CPU, then, yes, this is a very appealing option.
  • First gen Core i7 here. That thing kept me happy for a very long time, but I know a new build with a gen5 or gen6 Core i7 and SSD will change my computing experience. Time to upgrade I think.
  • lol yea I agree. It sounds like he's actually upset with himself for not waiting. While there isn't much a difference between the 4790 and 6700, he no longer has the latest and greatest. And actually, I believe they said the difference needs to be at least 10% in order to ACTUALLY notice a difference, so yes, you would see a difference but super minamal at that.You won't regret your decision this year or next but in 4 years when your system is long in the tooth and you wished you would have had the patience to wait an additional month.
  • In 4 years the difference between this 2 will still be the same.. 10%... So the point is?
  • Exactly. I will be coming from a 860. Posted via my HTC One (M7)
  • I'm coming from a c2q q6600. Ddr2 and sata2 gtx280. My laptop is a i5-3210m 256gb ssd and 8gb ddr3-1600. My current desktop will be retired to a htpc. Openelec will run just fine on it. Might need a new gpu though.
  • 10% over a stock 4790k I assume? I'm running mine at 4.9ghz. That should eliminate any 10% increase.
  • That sounds like a heafty OC. Water cooled? Hows your temps? I'm getting ready for a rebuild so time to start my research, lol.
  • Off course I was talking on stock speeds.. But if you are going that path the new ones could OC to.. And think they be "fresher" at even higher speeds..
    Yes I have mine OC @ 4.9 ( cooled by an corsair h110i gt) but, most off the time I use it @ stock speeds when I don't need that speeds.. For simple tasks it's more than enough :P
  • Poor way of thinking. Assuming that the 6700 overclocks just as well, if not even better due to it's better power management, it would also overclock. So an overclocked 6700 vs overclocked 4790, the 6700 would still win :)
  • It's your choice. I will buy one of this since I will be upgrading from Core2 Duo!
  • Ahahah.. It's was my older processor.. I upgraded from a core 2 duo to 4790k..
    Keep I mind, that not only the motherboards are more expensive, so does the ram.. You will end up to spend more for a short margin of boost performance..
  • exactly - motherboards are new and hefty (less models, less choices), memory could be the same (older ones I guess), cooler may need upgrading.
    IMO, best to wait till next year for various reasons, let the price cool down, better options and so on.
  • Man, I have an 'old' i7 2600 (non-K but turbo OC'd), and this still isn't much of an upgrade. The biggest thing that is going to get me to upgrade in the next year or two is going to be chipset and connectivity upgrades. DDR4, 10GbE, and SATA express (or m.2/u.2) is what is getting me more excited rather than CPU performance.
  • @gajomau it might nit be for you but for peeps like me who are still on first Gen i7 920 this is a no brainer. Jumping from a 2.66ghz to 4.0 is gonna do wonders for streaming which I started recently.
  • Sexy intel
  • Damn it. That means I'll need a new motherboard and since I bought oem windows I'll probably have to try and lie to them that my hard drive died in order to get a new license. So if I wanted to upgrade I would need to spend nearly 400 bucks.
  • We'll be keeping an eye out for you.
  • They are not that rigid. OEM windows will let you to change MB and CPU at least few times before you have to call them and explain what are you doing. Not sure you have to lie either and even if you do, HDD is a bad lie because registration is tied to several components, not just HDD.
  • Just say it is just installed on one pc and you have to reinstall the system. no questions asked
  • If I'm not mistaken, you can rebuild like 3 times before you have to call them, even then, just say you replaced your MoBo. THat's what I've done, and never had an issue.
  • Like every other Intel release you always need a new MB what's new?
  • I'm about three years overdue for upgrade, these look tasty!
  • Me too, but my 2nd gen i5 has never caused any problems! Every game that i hv tried ran smoothly( till far cry 4)
  • Same with my first gen i5 760... Even the new gen games don't seem to load the cpu much...
  • Around 25k xD I'm gona surely save ;)
  • When they said gaming, they also say Video Editing. :3
  • Actually, I've found AMD to provide better performance on that front.
  • also half the price too. I hate AMD sockets though. Horrible for mounting coolers.
  • We need that in our phones....... For no apparent reason.
  • When in Windows Mobile? :)
  • When pigs fly
  • *Puts jet pack on a pug*
  • The poor dog
  • Yeah, when?! I'm looking forward to having a Windows 10 Mobile device with battery life of 5 minutes and 4 GHz of extreme performance! Wow, no lag there at all! Those 5 minutes will be so much fun, it's completely worth it 8-D
  • Penguin apple, XD That was too good.
  • @Penguin apple bahahahahaha :D you made the joke of the day :D
  • Skylake is too much power for a phone (lol), But now being serious, I think CherryTrail would be present on 2016 middle-range phones with Windows 10 Mobile. CherryTrail has about same performance/battery life than Snapdragon 810 and costs less. 
    Just as a reference, download Chrome on a Microsoft's Surface 3, run Javascript Octane, do the same on a HTC One M9/Nexus 6 and you'll get very similar results.  
  • "...Just as a reference, download Chrome on a Microsoft's Surface 3, run Javascript Octane, do the same on a HTC One M9/Nexus 6 and you'll get very similar results..."   This has more to do with the type of test and how horribly unoptimized Chrome and its entire model is on PC hardware. Chrome is CPU heavy on x86, yet uses some GPU assistance on ARM.(Not just the rendering GPU features offered on PCs.) On higher end CPUs like an i5 or i7 Chrome runs well on PCs, put it on an older Atom class CPU and IE9/10/11 run circles around it in every way.   This also does not mean that a HTC One/Nexus is as fast as a Surface 3. A Surface 3 is faster than the last generation of Duo Core and early i3/i5 notebooks from just a couple of years ago. There is a still a big difference in overall performance between ARM and x86/x64 architectures for the majority of tasks.  There is a reason why Adobe Photoshop isn't running on ARM devices.  CISC CPU designs still have massive performance advantages over RISC when doing complex instructions.  
  • Upcoming Surface Pro 4 with Skylake. Take my money!
  • SP4 will probably have the last gen chip, as it's always been. It takes a considerable amout of time to customize the architecture for the small size of the Surface, saddly MS is not that fast.
     
  • intel would of let them test this one ages ago
  • I would generally agree, but am not so sure on this.  Intel has had this chip ready for months, just not mass production.  With all the Features and support for Windows 10 in the chip, they very well might put this in and give us a November lauch.
  • this would be interesting, if not for the fact that it won't be available where I live anyways. MS is so bad at getting international that I'm at constant disappointment.
  • These are high end flagship CPU's made for PRO's, not UltraMobile CPU's which are the ones on Ultrabooks and Surface Pro 3 devices. I have a Broadwell Intel Core i7 5500U CPU on a Dell laptop and it doesn't have even 1/2 performance of these Skylake CPU's but my laptop is faster and works better for games than a Surface Pro 3 because of my AMD Radeon R7 M270 graphics card I have.  
  • My PC have AMD FX-8350 eight-core processor and its working fine like a monster. Is this i7 Skylake is an upgrade to my processor? Or should I stay with FX-8350.
  • yes it is but you will also need a new motherboard and depending on the motherboard maybe ddr4 ram too :)
  • 8350isstil a solid CPU today, if you are on water you can easily clock it at 5ghz. Although this and chip architecture is dead, I see no reason to upgrade unless you absolutely must upgrade. In all honesty in still on 8120runing at 4.5 on air, although runs hot, been that way for several years now. Still takes every game on ultra without any issues. Gpu is more important for gaming anyways. Stay with your 8350, and spend 600 on a new gpu
  • Yup, I guess my GPU needs an upgrade it is only Radeon 6570.
  • I also have an 8350, but this would be a pretty significant upgrade. Intel CPUs have much better single-threaded performance, which is what most games are optimized for. These CPUs would blow an 8350 out of the water. But like others have said, you would also need to purchase a new motherboard and RAM, so it would be an expensive upgrade.
  • I thought TOms HW has found that games are now starting to take advantage of multithreading? Or maybe I misread?
  • No, you didn't misread.  Ever since the original Supreme Commander most AAA games have had varying degrees of multi-threadedness, and current games all assign tasks to different threads like crazy with all the middleware they now utilize. You'd see a huge performance hit if you disabled all but 1 core and turned off hyperthreading with any modern game.  Even enabling 2 physical processors will still hit your performance compared to 4 or 6.  You can easily test this out yourself.  Most BIOSes (or UEFIs) let you disable cores and HT.
  • "...I thought TOms HW has found that games are now starting to take advantage of multithreading?..."   Yes gaming is getting better, and especially with Windows 10 along with DirectX12, it will continue to get even better again.   However, games have to 'coordinate' and they still rely on a one or two main functions that manage the game.  So even with a well threaded game, the first two cores are usually going to be doing more work, which still gives the performance advantage to Intel's much faster single thread speeds. Remember it is like latency, even if you have a huge pipe of 50mb/s download, but have a 900ms ping (latency), your connection is going to feel slow.  The same is true of CPUs, as executing a single thread really fast is important, as most CPU instructions cannot be split to multiple cores (even in a brillantly multi-threading design), so they are never going to be faster than the speed of a single core. In a few years, a CPU that has a slower single thread but several more cores will be almost as fast for gaming; however, right now there is a drastic difference.
  • Yeah, I think it is an expensive upgrade because of the motherboard. I have ASUS Extreme mobo and it is not cheap. My 8350 is 4GHZ already but I am not on water cooler thats why I didn't tweak it.
  • Removed Dell Inspirion 5000 with i5 8GB Ram 1TB storage from my wishlist.... As soon as I saw this thing... Come on Dell Equip this 6th Gen i5 with new models and get it ready for me in 6 months
  • Renewed my PC before 2 months with 3rd gen processor... So, not interested.
    & one more thing, it can't be replace the Graphics Card in any way.
    Go always with 3-5 gen processors if you aren't professional user.
  • The real benefit of skylake will be felt in the laptop/portablke dept since the prior architecture was only available in Desktops. As it so happens to be, I'm in the market for a new laptop after using my last one for 5 years now.
  • So they're different in laptop and desktop?
  • Yes. Laptop versions use less power for 1 since they aren't always connected to a power supply. Very basic explanation that is but that's 1 difference.
  • I still don't find a reason to convince myself into upgrading my first gen i5 760 built pc... But its quite a good news for those looking forward to build a gaming rig...
  • If you play cutting edge games, you'll definitely notice the upgrade. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So its what we have now... Just overclocked. Fancy sales tactic
  • Not even that fancy truth be told. But we have to remember that larger numbers sell products.
  • Incremental improvements have been the name of the game for years. This isn't new. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Why did they change the box art?
  • They want you to believe that these new products run as fast as a warp drive. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android.
  • My i7 2600k overclocked to 4.5ghz is still kicking ass. I don't think I've ever held on to a CPU for this long.
  • Just bought a 5th Gen i5,but the boxes have stunning view.
  • 2016 April : Hot news ! Surface phone is out, powered by the intel i7 processor :D
  • Costs 800-1000 dollars.
  • So wait for this, or get LGA 1150 once prices drop? Been out of upgrade game for so long, too confused now. Moving from LGA 1366.
  • Always get newer, if you can afford it. But DDR4 is pretty expensive, at the moment. You can't go wrong with Haswell/Devil's Canyon still, if you're on a smaller budget. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So how exactly are these optimized for gaming? After a certain point (about the mid level i5) the processor isn't a bottleneck, its down to the video card and perhaps its RAM capacity.
  • True. Unless you use multiple GPU's, then differences can be more noticeable. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Surprisingly, most gaming is still CPU dependant and run CPU bottlenecked more than they do GPU bottlenecked. Also note the difference in RAM and how the RAM architecture works with this generation of CPU. It has more potential for gaming performance, beyond the limits that game engines are pushing now. (Especially with Windows 10's WDM technologies to fully treat both RAM and GPU/CPU threads agnostically.) Most people on 3rd/4th generation i5/i7s won't see enough of a difference to move to these CPUs.  However anyone upgrading, this is the generation they should probably move to ensure they will have the performance for more advanced gaming in the future.
  • They skipped a whole generation for the desktop processors....I want an i5 skylake chip for around 180$
  • So it's about time for MS to release the new Surface with the last gen chip, as always...
  • Finally Skylake is here. Time to start planning for a new ITX rig.
  • Anandtech review is less encouraging.... slower than Haswell for gaming? Really?
  • Package Design is not important; but this package design is better then what intel has been churing out.
     
  • C2D E6600 needing an upgrade here
  • Lol. I just used my old E6600 to upgrade my parents PC. It's amazing how long CPU's last if you just do basic tasks on a computer. Overclocked it to 3.45Ghz for them, running W7 with an SSD. Feels like a massive upgrade to them! I've had E8400, Q6700, Q9650 and now i5-4690, in the meantime. :p. 775 socket was fun to overclock! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Ship date?
  • Well crap. I just got my i5 4690k yesterday. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You're good. ;). Be happy you don't have to splurge on DDR4 RAM. Lol. I just bought a 4690k myself, for my gaming rig. You won't even notice that 5-10% improvement the newer models have. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • That's still an awesome CPU though. You are not gonna lose that much. :)
  • Not diverse enough ill buy Intel when they stop oppressing me
  • Aren't CPUs getting more and more irrelevant for gaming, since almost all the load goes to the GPU? At least I have yet to max out my 150€ AMD chip with a game ...
  • Aren't games like World of Warcraft and Minecraft heavily CPU dependent?
  • Gaming is still very CPU dependent, and most games hit limits with the CPU before they do with the GPU.  (This is a mistake a lot of gamers make, as they will overlook a slow AMD CPU because it has 8 cores, and buy a new GPU which dosn't eliminate their main bottleneck.)   Even with DirectX 12 and newer technologies, they still depend on fast single thread speeds to do the core to core communictions the will push the GPU more, but also push the CPU far more as well.  
  • Freaking Intel and their sockets. AMD has long maanged to use sockets for multiple generations of processor, yet Intel conveniently HAS to force customers into buying a new motherboard every year...I'll stick to my 4670K for another year or two.
  • AMD has long managed to play second fiddle to Intel as well.
  • Not when it comes to gaming. Also, much, MUCH cheaper than intel
  • Yes, when it comes to gaming, ESPECIALLY when it comes to gaming, when talking about games that aren't heavily threaded. The reason AMD is much cheaper is that they haven't produced a new desktop CPU architecture since 2012, and it was behind Intel's 2012 Ivy Bridge chips. Since then, everything AMD's done on the desktop side has been clock boosts and wattage drops, and they're STILL consuming more power than the Intel alternatives.
  • When's the laptop versions? Eagerly waiting for the awesome 2-in-1's using these!
  • Are these processors the ones with the improved Intel HD Graphics?
  • That's what happens when there's is little to no competition. Intel ain't even trying. Let's see what AMD's Zen has in the bag.
  • Oh great. My new laptop hasn't even been built yet and its processor is already outdated.
    DX
  • Where is it written that it's only 10% faster then previous generation ?
  • Might be worth upgrading from my 2500K Sandy Bridge.  That said, I'd probably be fine just upgrading my GPU instead.  GTX560 is pretty long in tooth now.
  • @madato that's definitely not outdated. My system which is about seven years old is still going strong, if I hadn't started streaming or got into mmo's I probably wouldn't upgrade for a while longer.
  • @Bryan Trach 4 years is nothing. The first Gen I have is still good and that's about 7-8 years old.