Skylake in all its splendor
On the eve of IFA, one of Europe’s largest exhibitions of consumer electronics, Intel has finally fully lifted the veil of secrecy from its new microprocessor family for the next generation. Skylake is going to be impressive «large family» in the coming months the company plans to launch nearly 50 of chips for different user groups. Ranging from low-voltage Y processor, designed for tablets, U series thin and light notebook, and H series for portable computers high-end to powerful desktops, Core i3, i5, i7 and server «monsters» Xeon.
In other words, one of the things that will offer Skylake, is diversity. However, will this be enough to motivate users to abandon two or three year old computers and make a decisive step towards a new platform?
A short (and skeptical) response of most analysts in the industry: «Probably not!»
«This is the best processor that we have ever created,» boasted kirk Skaugen senior Vice President of Intel’s Client Computing Group. However, the company clearly realizes that «the best» is no longer the most important in the modern highly competitive and oversaturated market.
Even more unfortunate for the PC industry and Intel in particular is that this time the emergence of a new version of Windows is not particularly committed to boost sales. Version 10 is a free upgrade and instead to motivate consumers to buy new computers, Windows 10, but rather creates the opposite effect – further extends the life of aging 3-4 year old machines.
At the same time, as has become clear from practical texts, Skylake offers a sharp increase in overall performance. Though Intel is talking about «60 percent increase», they acknowledge that we are talking about specific applications and comparison with introduced in early 2014 Haswell, rather than the new Broadwell chips.
The company also emphasizes improvements in performance built-in graphics core Skylake – Intel HD Graphics 515, 520, and 530, but even on the official slide with outstanding improvements are clearly visible with numerous links to a bunch of additional refinements, in very small print.
Manufacturer, of course, tried to compensate for the relatively modest growth performance of the new generation of a number of additional features and improvements in the hope to seduce their users. And we have to admit – most of them seem promising. Long-standing promise to PC wireless, for example, will soon be completed, and Intel claims that Skylake will be an important tool in this regard. We’re talking about Wireless Display (WiDi) for wireless communication between a computer and a display and wireless charging (although, regarding the latter, the company doesn’t specify whether they will be available in the first generation mobile PC based Skylake).
Interesting and new possibilities for energy management, which offers Skylake. So far, all the Intel was counting on the built-in Windows options to manage energy consumption. Skylake, however, «will take care of itself» thanks to the technology of Speed Shift. It will allow the chip to respond more effectively to changes in workload and autonomously adjust the level of energy used within one millisecond – much quicker compared to today’s 30 milliseconds, which means a more rapid transition of the chip in a low power state. Separate processors Skylake will allow all PC makers to impose their own limits on the energy efficiency of the chip depending on the specific design of the device. For example, the new laptops can automatically reduce the clock speed and power consumption of the processor if the temperature of a certain part of the chassis exceeds a certain threshold – for example, the space around the keyboard, where usually are your hands or the bottom cover of the device.
No less curious and technology True Key. It is to some extent duplicates the functionality of Microsoft Passport-related features for face authentication in Windows 10 (Windows Hello), whose goal is to rid you once and for all from the extremely tedious having to remember dozens of passwords for all password protected sites you visit.
As Microsoft Passport, the offer from Intel, in fact, is an advanced password Manager, in which face identification is the master key for authorization. And again, like a Passport, to use True Key requires 3D camera (RealSense) to identify the person, which in our days have very few computers.
Ultimately, the emergence of Skylake and Windows 10 has created a very interesting situation on the market. On the one hand, Microsoft is constantly convinces users that one of the strengths of the new operating system is the potential to breathe new life to their old computers. On the other, Intel insists that the future for Skylake and if you want to be ready, it’s time to buy a new computer. In fact, two leading companies in the segment of sent users two conflicting messages, which logically has caused skepticism in the industry.
Undoubtedly, at some point, long-term strategy for Microsoft and Intel will be synchronized, but this is unlikely to happen in this generation or in the next 12-18 months. The revival of the PC market due to Windows 10 and Skylake will of course – the recently released forecast by the research firm IDC confirms this, but, as can be seen from the same report, this will not happen until 2018-2019.