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Friday, September 4, 2015

Intel Mobile Skylake lineup - I'm kinda disappointed...

Now that we have Intel's full Mobile Skylake lineup (until the 2016 refresh), I wanted to share some thoughts.

I have created a performance table of the new chips, enabling me to get a comprehensive view of the lineup.
I've also compared the 6th Gen Skylake lineup to last year's 5th Gen Broadwell lineup.

The best mobile Broadwell chip, according to my table, was the Core i7-5950HQ.
It received a performance score of 3.68.

In Intel's Skylake lineup, only 3 chips can theoretically outperform the i7-5950HQ:

  • Xeon E3-1505M v5 - with a score of 3.70.
  • Core i7-6920HQ - with a score of 3.76.
  • Xeon E3-1535M v5 - with a score of 3.76.

I was hoping for a bit more. More chips which can score higher than the i7-5950HQ. And chips that can score higher in general.
Here's an example of a theoretical Skylake chip, which I'm sure Intel could introduce to the market if they wanted to. The specs, to my opinion, are completely realistic and were carefully chosen:

4 cores / 8 threads
8 MB L3 cache
256MB L4 eDRAM cache
2.8GHz Base Clock
4.0GHz single core; 3.8GHz 2Cores; 3.6GHz 3Cores; 3.5GHz 4Cores
47W Standard TDP
Support for DDR4-2400MHz Dual-channel (64GB max RAM)
Support for ECC RAM (like the mobile Xeon chips)
Iris Pro 580 GT4e, 72 EUs, with 256MB eDRAM
GPU Base Clock: 0.6GHz
GPU Max Clock: 1.4GHz
Support for Intel vPro, WiDi, VT-x, VT-d, etc...
Support for HDMI 2.0, DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5

This chip, according to my scoring, would get a score of 4.27, which is about 12% higher than the current best, Xeon E3-1535M v5. I also gave this theoretical chip a TDP of 47W, which is 2W higher, as it would probably be a little more power hungry. I could totally live with that, as previous top-of-the-line mobile Broadwell chips also required 47W Standard TDP. Cooling, as you would expect, would have to be top notch.

One last thought:
I was wondering if Intel would be willing to create a pure 64bit chip, without the 32bit instructions, sort of like Itanium chips.
We pretty much hit a point where most Operating Systems and applications have a 64bit variant.
Perhaps dropping the 32bit support, both in the CPU and in the OS, would enable a much more efficient setup.There would be more room in the chip, and there would be more room on the storage media, where the OS resides.