Published in PC Hardware

Intel’s Skylake is creating a mess in the channel

by on18 August 2015

A lot of controversial messaging

There is no doubt that Skylake is rather impressive architecture with a huge focus on mobile. At the same time, the Skylake Core i7 6700K desktop part seems to be the most disconnected product launch Intel did in the last few years.

The desktop part has been launched, but only one of the two CPU’s launched can be purchased. There is a serious shortage of desktop processors, and when we asked around everyone we know thinks that the product launch came a big prematurely. The Skylake desktop CPU comes just months after Broadwell, which totally confused the channel.

Broadwell, now "previous generation" processor, has faster graphics performance then the top end desktop Skylake at the moment. Broadwell Core i7 5775C was launched on June 2nd for $366 on LGA 1150 socket and with a 65 W TDP. We are still scratching our heads to see Broadwell launching on June 2nd only to be replaced by Skylake in early August.

Skylake was launched with 91W TDP, with the highest CPU clock of 4GHz but slower GPU performance compared to Iris graphics of Broadwell. This is not all, as Skylake requires more expensive DDR4 memory, a new Z170 motherboard and yet again new 1151 socket. Two sockets in two months, this is a new high for Intel. The GPU is called Intel HD Graphics 530 this time around. Intel gets away from four digit to three digit graphics differentiator, and this is not confusing at all. I wonder what might be faster, Iris Pro 6200, Haswell’s HD 4600 or Intel HD Graphics 530.

All of the above creates quite a mess in the channel, as end users don’t know what is compatible with or comparable to what. Well, your new motherboard that you got a few months ago won’t work with your brand new Skylake processor, that's for sure.

It just looks that Intel gets away pretty easy with all the mess that it creates occasionally. The press is usually faster to point out what AMD did wrong then to point out obvious issues with Intel desktop strategy. It might be that many looked trough Intel’s fingers as people see Intel fighting with Qualcomm / Apple for its place under the hood. Most of the press have been busy enough with Qualcomm for Snapdragon 810 and AMD for its market value.

Intel Skylake looks like it is going to turn into quite a good processor, but it is questionable whether it will bring enough of a performance upgrade versus Haswell and Haswell refresh to make the purchase viable.

It is interesting that none of the deep dive articles about Skylake have found their place on the internet. We expect this to happen after IDF 2015 as it starts on Tuesday August 18th.


Last modified on 18 August 2015
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