The Intel Core i7-6700K Review - Skylake First for Enthusiasts
Power Consumption, Perf per Dollar, Closing Thoughts
Power Consumption Testing
Idle power consumption is quite good on the new Z170 chipset motherboard and Skylake processor, measuring at just 58 watts. Under a full load, the 6700K system pulls a total of 143.8 watts (full system, not the CPU alone), which is actually 12 watts less than the Core i7-4790K based system. Considering the move to 14nm process technology as well as the new (yet to be revealed) architectural changes, this seems right in line with expectations.
Performance per Dollar
One thing we wanted to take into consideration with this review is the idea of performance per dollar. To get some interesting data I selected three benchmarks (7zip, Cinebench 11 and x264 v5.0) and included current pricing from Newegg.com (or Amazon if out of stock on Newegg).
At $350, the Core i7-6700K is priced right in line with previous Intel mainstream CPU releases including the Core i7-4770K, 4790K and 3770K. It's obvious that those Extreme Edition processors have a hell of a hill to climb with their $1000+ price tags.
Of all the Intel processors in this test, the Core i7-6700K has the highest performance per dollar, beating out the 4790K and the Haswell-E based Core i7-5960X as well. AMD's FX-8350 does very well here in these results thanks to its extreme low price, so users that are primarily concerned with this metric, but know the limitations of that platform in other areas, should definitely give AMD's parts a look.
Pricing and Availability
Today marks the launch of Skylake but only for the these two specific processors we are discussing today: the Core i7-6700K and the Core i5-6600K. Intel claims that both of these processors will be widely available this week, and we have heard from ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte, all three of which have plenty of motherboards based on the Z170 chipset ready to go.
The wider array of Skylake parts, including lower-cost desktop solutions, C-SKUs and mobile processors will be revealed at a future date, with more information likely coming through during IDF next week. It's great to see Intel giving at least a slight nod to the gamers and enthusiasts that really power and push this industry forward.
I think it's safe to say that, although Skylake's performance isn't going to make Haswell users jump out of their seats to order immediately, consumer that are on Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge might finally have a line in the sand to step across. The Core i7-6700K is an incredibly fast desktop processor that will be able to handle your gaming, media encoding and web browsing with incredible efficiency and at nearly the same performance level as those $1000+ processor still taunting us with their 8-core setups. The CPU is unlocked, overclockable and easy on the wallet (in the grand scheme of things).
I think it might be the new Z170 chipset that is the icing on the cake to tease the sweet tooth of more users than either Z97 or Z87 was able to in recent history. The upgrade to DMI3 and 20x lanes of PCIe 3.0 on the chipset mean that motherboard vendors can offer up some fairly interesting and unique combinations of features including high speed wireless, USB 3.1, Thunderbolt, M.2 and U.2 storage and more. The ASUS Z170-Deluxe is an amazing example of a flagship board that offers up enough useful (that's the key) features to warrant the added cost over the more basic motherboards. If you are on a tighter budget, the Z170-A from ASUS looks like a great option down that road. We have already seen leaks of other vendors with boards support 7 (!!) PCIe SSDs, so clearly we aren't the only ones thinking outside the box here.
As an enthusiast, I am excited for what Skylake brings to the table. And yes, we might finally have a part that gets those Nehalem and Sandy Bridge users off their butts and into the upgrade line.