The Claims

As with any launch, there are numbers abound from Intel to explain how the performance and experience of Skylake is better than previous designs as well as the competition.

As with Haswell and Broadwell, Intel is implementing a mobile first design with Skylake. As with any processor development structure the primal idea is to focus on one power point as being the most efficient and extend that efficiency window as far in either direction as possible. During IDF, Intel stated that having an efficiency window from 4.5W to 91W is a significant challenge, to which we agree, as well as improving both performance and power consumption over Broadwell at each stage.

Starting at 4.5W, we spoke extensively with parts of Intel at IDF due to our Broadwell-Y coverage. From their perspective Broadwell-Y designs were almost too wide ranging, especially for what is Intel’s premium low-power high performance product, and for the vendors placing it in an ill-defined chassis far away from Intel’s recommended designs gave concern to the final performance and user experience. As a result, Intel’s guidelines to OEMs this generation are tightened so that the designers looking for the cheaper Core M plastic implementations can tune their design to get the best out of it. Intel has been working with a few of these (both entry Core M and premium models) to enact the user experience model.

Overall however, Intel is claiming 40% better graphics performance for Core M with the new Generation 9 (Gen9) implementation, along with battery saving and compatibility with new features such as RealSense. Because Core-M will find its way into products from tablets to 2-in-1s and clamshells, we’ve been told that the Skylake design should hit a home-run against the best-selling tablets in the market, along with an appropriate Windows 10 experience. When we get units in to review, we will see what the score is from our perspective on that one.

For the Skylake-Y to Skylake-U transition (and in part, Skylake-H), Intel is claiming a 60% gain in efficiency over Haswell-U. This means either 60% less active power during media consumption or 60% more CPU performance at the same power (measured by synthetics, specifically SPECint_base_rate2006). The power consumption metrics comes from updates relating to the Gen9 graphics, such as multi-plane overlay and fixed-function decoders, as well as additional power/frequency gating between the unslice and slices. We will cover this later in the review.  The GPU itself, due to the new functionality, is claiming 40% better graphics performance for Core M during 3DMark synthetic tests.

While not being launched today, Intel’s march on integrated graphics is also going to continue. With the previous eDRAM parts, Intel took the crown for absolute IGP performance from AMD, albeit being in a completely different price band. With Skylake, the introduction of a 4+4e model means that Intel’s modular graphics design will now extend from GT1 to GT4, where GT4e has 72 execution units with 128MB of eDRAM in tow. This leads to the claim that GT4e is set to match/beat a significant proportion of the graphics market today.

Back in our Skylake-K review, we were perhaps unimpressed with the generational gain in clock-for-clock performance, although improved multi-threading and frequency ranges helped push the out-of-the-box experience. The other side of that performance is the power draw, and because Skylake is another mobile-first processor, the power aspect becomes important down in mobile devices. We will go through some of these developments to improve power consumption in this article.

The Intel Skylake Launch The Skylake Package: High Level Core and Power Delivery
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  • just4U - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    I have to agree with Jumangi,

    If your gaming plans revolve around a integrated GPU your still better served to go the AMD route.. While the CPU is not as fast it's no slouch either.. and gaming performance is going to be acceptable in comparison on most titles.
    Reply
  • sundragon - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    Um, first hand experience: Macbook Pro 2015, (Iris 6200): Skyrim, ESO, Civilization 5, Homeworld, all run at 1440x - I love all these people talk about intel integrated graphics sucking, meanwhile I'm getting crushed in Civ5 and kicking ass in Homeworld and ESO.
    I'm not lugging an integrated laptop around to play games, I have a laptop and I like to have ONE LAPTOP, and guess what, everything I've thrown on here has played. My MBA 2012 HD4000 struggled with Skyrim and Civ 5 but I still played. Please stop talking theoretical and talk about your actual rig... /end rant
    Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Thursday, September 3, 2015 - link

    @retrospooty: Core2 era was more a return to parity. One of the most even matchups I can remember was the ironically similarly numbered Phenom II 955 and the Core 2 Quad 9550. Nahalem is what really did the damage. Here's hoping Zen can put AMD back in the ballpark.

    I do think AMD has a pretty significant GPU advantage in the area of gaming over Intel. However, as you've stated, the power/thermal constraints do not allow them to fully exploit this advantage. A CPU intense game, even if not CPU limited, will chew up much of the GPU's available thermal envelop, effectively eliminating any advantage AMD had. Granted, there are cases where the thermal solutions in play provide the necessary thermal headroom, but these are mostly found in laptops that are already using discrete chips.
    Reply
  • MrBungle123 - Thursday, September 3, 2015 - link

    The Phenom II didn't come out until after Intel had retired the Core 2 line. Everyone wants AMD to be competitive but the fact is they are miles behind Intel. Reply
  • MapRef41N93W - Friday, September 4, 2015 - link

    Guess you didn't read the review of Broadwell Iris Pro on this very site. AMD's GPU loses by as much as 20-30% in most games vs Broadwell Iris Pro. Skylake Iris Pro will be offering up to 50% more performance. Reply
  • V900 - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    4: Not everybody who are interested in a gaming machine can afford a Core i7 and several 1000$ graphic cards in a SLI configuration. A lot of gamers have a budget between 500$-1000$, and if you can get/get close to XB1 performance with just an Intel IGP, it would be perfect for that kind of budget.

    Also: Why would you think a 13' laptop with Iris Pro and 72 execution units would "fail miserably" in comparison with an XB1/PS4?!?

    That's ridiculous. Any advantage the console would have is tiny.

    Just get two wireless controllers and hook up the laptop to your HDTV with a HDMI cable, and the experience would be close to identical....
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    "Also: Why would you think a 13' laptop with Iris Pro and 72 execution units would "fail miserably" in comparison with an XB1/PS4?!?"

    Because he specifically mentioned this in conjunction with "user experience". The PC gives you freedom but certainly not the ease of use of a console. Which is mainly why these things exist at all.
    Reply
  • Jumangi - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    Lolz if you think an Intel only machine with any sort of Integrated graphics(even the best Iris Pro) will give you anything close to an Xbox One game your seriously naive and ignorant. Stop looking at theoretical Gflops numbers to make comparisons. Reply
  • IanHagen - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    Well, a few posts back up you're stating that AMD's A10 APU have "far better graphics" when it failed to beat last generation Iris 5200 GPU and now there you are, talking about naiveness and ignorance. Reply
  • Jumangi - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    Compare actual gaming on the two mr naive one. also compare the huge cost differences of these chips. An Iris Pro laptop will be far far more expensive. Reply

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