Today we have a nice juicy Intel Skylake leak, with some pretty specific details about Intel’s upcoming CPU architecture Skylake. According to their sources, there will be four variants, three of which will be BGA only (embedded CPUs). The LGA version named “SKL-S” is the one we care about. It will be a 4 core processor with various graphics configurations. The GT4e version will come with 64MB of embedded DRAM. Some Haswell variants support this feature, but only on BGA versions.
That stuff probably doesn’t matter much to us though, it’s all about the new features. As you might guess, most of the features have to do with power saving. According to this leak, TDP can be adjusted between normal and lower power mode, presumably on the fly. So if you have a 65W CPU, it can be set to run at 35W peak if you want. This is significant because normally a CPU has a max TDP, and will reach that ceiling as long as the CPU is loaded. Now, if you don’t need to use that much power, it will only reach 35W. I assume you’ll be able to do this on the fly, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The other new feature is the long awaited arrival of DDR4. Apparently Skylake will be able to support DDR4 as well as maintaining backwards compatibility with DDR3. This is pretty important, because although it will certainly require a new motherboard with a new socket, it would be nice to keep your DDR3 if you already have it, and performance isn’t affected.
Here’s a quick overview of the LGA models according to the leak:
- SKL-S 1: 2 cores with GT2 graphics, dual memory, 65/35W TDP
- SKL-S 2: 4 cores with GT2 graphics, dual memory, 95W TDP
- SKL-S 3: 4 cores with GT4e graphics, dual memory, 65/35W TDP, 64MB EDRAM
Again, we’ll most likely be interested in the config 2 version, with full power and no need for the upgraded graphics. Still, it will be interesting to see where Intel is in terms of integrated GPU performance. Haswell lags far behind Kaveri, so it will be interesting to see how Skylake responds.