Skylake-S is a 14nm processor that is set to replace the Core i7 4790, Intel’s so-called Haswell refresh part, and according to some early information we gathered it might launch at Computex 2015 or in June 2015.
Skylake-S needs a new socket, new chipset and new motherboard. The socket is called LGA 1151 and has a single pin more than Haswell, the company’s current generation Core architecture. The new desktop processor supports both DDR4 1.2V and DDR3L 1.35V and it will be up to motherboard manufacturers to support one or the other.
The chipset that will let you overclock Skylake-S is called Z170 and it comes with 1 x 16 plus 2x8 or 1x8 plus 2x4 PCIe express 3.0 combination. SLI and Crossfire will continue to live in 2015 and beyond, there is no doubt about it. The Z170 board supports two memory channels with two modules each. In case you want to use integrated graphics, you can get three independent display outs for three monitors. The board supports Intel Rapid Storage Technology 14, Intel Smart Response Technology and has support for 14 USB ports, 10 of which can be USB 3.0. Intel is not implementing USB 3.1 and that would be a cool thing. We expect to see USB 3.1 shipping in 2015, but motherboard manufacturers will have to rely on external controllers.
Z170 boards will come with six SATA 6Gbps ports and a maximum of 20 lanes for PCI express capable ports. When it comes to storage, the Z170 boards support a maximum of three SATA Express ports X2 and three RST for PCIe Storage Ports (x4 M.2 or x2 SATA Express).
New boards based on the Z170 chipset will support Skylake-S processors, bring DDR4 to more affordable performance PCs and most importantly will continue the support for new storage form factors including M.2 and SATA Express. mSATA may be on its way to an early retirement as the Z87 was the last chipset to support it.