INTEL PROCESSOR: Skylake Coming Soon

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The silicon giant has got a chip-packed year on its hands. Maybe a little too tightly packed…

THE NEXT 12 MONTHS are going to be big for Intel. There are two huge desktop launches coming this year, one a process shrink down to 14nm with the socketed Broadwell chips and the next a new microarchitecture to take that die-shrink even further with Skylake. Having two new processor generations, the fifth and sixth-gen core architectures, both arriving in 2015 is a bit odd, and shows how delayed the Broadwell die-shrink has been in the final reckoning.

Intel 14nm Broadwell and Skylake-S Processors Coming in Q2 2015

Intel though will tell you it launched Broadwell in 2014, but for us the Core M simply isn’t the Broadwell processor we’ve been waiting for. No, Broadwell proper isn’t due to arrive until ‘mid- 2015’ according to a presentation we had around the release of the latest low- power mobile U-series chips. So we’re waiting until the summer for both the quad-core 14nm laptop chips and the K-series socketed desktop parts to go in our waiting Z97 motherboards.

But, and this is where things get complicated, we’re also expecting Skylake processors to arrive in the summer. Speaking with motherboard manufacturers, they’ve been prepping to release their new Skylake mobos, the 2170s, at Computex in June. These aren’t backwards compatible as they’re pinned specifically for Skylake processors and some will be rocking DDR4 compatibility.

Double trouble

So yes, this all means we ought to be getting sixth-gen desktop chips around the sametime as Broadwell K parts go on sale. Sadly, that points to overclockable K-series Skylake chips being held back until next year, along with the beefy 14nm Broadwell-E chips too. Speaking of those Extreme Edition chips, it looks like we’ll be getting new LGA 2011-compatible sockets from mobo manufacturers soon. After Asus’s bespoke OC Socket on its X99 range surprised the industry, Gigabyte is joining in with its own 2,038-pin socket, taking advantage of some extra voltage control and DDR4 overclocking capabilities.

Stepping outside of the capacious innards of your PC box though. Intel is also preparing an intriguing little Bay Trail-powered device to launch this year the Compute Stick. Packing a Z3735F chip into a design that’s only four inches long. the Compute Stick is a super-tiny PC that you plug directly into an HDMI port to turn almost any display into a PC. The $150 device comes with Windows 8.1, 2GB RAM and 32GB of solid-state storage. Because the Bay Trail chips are the first Atoms to come with proper Intel HD Graphics. it could be a fine game-streaming device.


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