Skylake (microarchitecture)

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Skylake
CPUID code 0506e3h
Product code 80662
L1 cache 64 KiB per core
L2 cache 256 KiB per core
L3 cache 8192 KiB shared
Created Launched at Gamescom on August 5, 2015[1]
Transistors 14 nm bulk silicon 3D transistors (FinFET)
Architecture Skylake x86
Instructions MMX, AES-NI, CLMUL, FMA3
Extensions
Socket(s)
Predecessor
Successor Kaby Lake (Optimization)[6]
Brand name(s)
    • Core i3
    • Core i5
    • Core i7
    • Core m3
    • Core m5
    • Core m7
    • Xeon
    • Pentium

Skylake[7][8] is the codename used by Intel for a processor microarchitecture which was launched in August 2015[9] as the successor to the Broadwell microarchitecture.[10] Skylake is a microarchitecture redesign using the same 14 nm manufacturing process technology[11] as its predecessor Broadwell, serving as a "tock" in Intel's "tick-tock" manufacturing and design model. According to Intel, the redesign brings greater CPU and GPU performance and reduced power consumption. It will be succeeded by Kaby Lake and Cannonlake.

Development history[edit]

Skylake's development, as with processors such as Banias, Dothan, Conroe, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, was primarily undertaken by Intel Israel [12] at its engineering research center in Haifa, Israel. The team worked on the project for four years, and faced many challenges: "But by re-writing the microarchitecture and developing new concepts such as the Speed Shift Technology, we created a processor for 4.5 W to 45 W mobile devices, and up to 91 W for desktop devices."[13] The Skylake processors will be used to power a wide range of devices, from smartphones and tablets, all the way to desktops.[14] "Because of Skylake's features, companies will be able to release laptop PCs that are half as thick and half as heavy as those from five years ago," according to Intel.[15]

In September 2014, Intel announced the Skylake microarchitecture at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, and that volume shipments of Skylake CPUs were scheduled for the second half of 2015. Also, the Skylake development platform was announced to be available in Q1 2015. During the announcement, Intel also demonstrated two computers with desktop and mobile Skylake prototypes: the first was a desktop testbed system, running the latest version of 3DMark, while the second computer was a fully functional laptop, playing 4K video.[16]

An initial batch of Skylake CPUs (6600K and 6700K) was announced for immediate availability during the Gamescom on August 5, 2015,[1] unusually soon after the release of its predecessor, Broadwell, which had suffered from launch delays.[17] Intel acknowledged in 2014 that moving from 22 nm (Haswell) to 14 nm (Broadwell) had been its most difficult process to develop yet, causing Broadwell's planned launch to slip by several months;[18] yet, the 14 nm production was back on track and in full production as of Q3 2014.[19] Industry observers had initially believed that the issues impacting Broadwell would also cause Skylake to slip to 2016, but Intel was able to bring forward Skylake's release and shorten Broadwell's release cycle instead.[20][21] As a result, the Broadwell architecture had an unusually short run.[20]

Overclocking of unsupported processors[edit]

Officially Intel only supported overclocking of the "K" versions of Skylake processors. However, it was later discovered that other "non-K" chips could be overclocked by modifying the base clock value — a process made feasible by the base clock only applying to the CPU, RAM, and integrated graphics on Skylake. Through beta UEFI firmware updates, some motherboard vendors, such as Asrock (which prominently promoted it under the name "Sky OC") allowed the base clock to be modified in this manner.[22][23]

In February 2016, however, an Asrock firmware update removed the feature. On February 9, 2016, Intel announced that it would no longer allow such overclocking of non-K processors, and that it had issued a CPU microcode update which removes the function.[24][25][26] In April 2016 Asrock started selling motherboards which support overclocking of unsupported CPUs using an external clock generator.[27][28]

Operating system support[edit]

In January 2016, Microsoft announced that it would end support of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on Skylake processors effective July 17, 2017; after this date, only the "most critical" updates for the two operating systems would be released for Skylake users if they have been judged not to affect the reliability of the OS on older hardware, and Windows 10 would be the only Microsoft Windows platform officially supported on Skylake, as well as all future Intel CPU microarchitectures beginning with Skylake's successor Kaby Lake. Terry Myerson stated that Microsoft had to make a "large investment" in order to reliably support Skylake on older versions of Windows, and that future generations of processors would require further investments. Microsoft also stated that due to the age of the platform, it would be "challenging" for newer hardware, firmware, and device driver combinations to properly run under 7.[29][30]

On March 18, 2016, in response to criticism over the move, primarily from enterprise customers, Microsoft announced revisions to the support policy, changing the cutoff for support and non-critical updates to July 17, 2018 and stating that Skylake users would receive all critical security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 through the end of extended support.[31][32]

Skylake mobile products are still[when?] not fully supported on Linux because not all Low-Power Idle States are supported. Because of that, long term reliability can be reduced.[33]

Features[edit]

Like its predecessor, Broadwell, Skylake is available in four variants, identified by the suffixes "S" (SKL-S), "H" (SKL-H), "U" (SKL-U), and "Y" (SKL-Y). SKL-S contains an overclockable "K" variant with unlocked multipliers.[34] The H, U and Y variants are manufactured in ball grid array (BGA) packaging, while the S variant is manufactured in land grid array (LGA) packaging using a new socket, LGA 1151.[35] Skylake is used in conjunction with Intel 100 Series chipsets, also known as Sunrise Point.[36]

The major changes between the Haswell and Skylake architectures include the removal of the fully integrated voltage regulator (FIVR) introduced with Haswell.[37] On the variants that will use a discrete Platform Controller Hub (PCH), Direct Media Interface (DMI) 2.0 is replaced by DMI 3.0, which allows speeds of up to 8 GT/s.

Skylake's U and Y variants support one DIMM slot per channel, while H and S variants support two DIMM slots per channel.[35] Skylake's launch and sales lifespan occur at the same time as the ongoing SDRAM market transition, with DDR3 SDRAM memory gradually being replaced by DDR4 memory. Rather than working exclusively with DDR4, the Skylake microarchitecture remains backward compatible by interoperating with both types of memory. Accompanying the microarchitecture's support for both memory standards, a new SO-DIMM type capable of carrying either DDR3 or DDR4 memory chips, called UniDIMM, was also announced.[38]

Other enhancements include Thunderbolt 3.0, SATA Express, Iris Pro graphics with Direct3D feature level 12_1 with up to 128 MB of L4 eDRAM cache on certain SKUs.[39] The Skylake line of processors retires VGA support,[40] while supporting up to five monitors connected via HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) interfaces.[41] HDMI 2.0 (4K@60 Hz) is only supported on motherboards equipped with Intel’s Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller.[42]

The Skylake instruction set changes include Intel MPX (Memory Protection Extensions), Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions), and Intel ADX (Multi-Precision Add-Carry Instruction Extensions). The Xeon variant also has Advanced Vector Extensions 3.2 ("AVX-512F").[2][3]

Skylake-based laptops may use wireless technology called Rezence for charging, and other wireless technologies for communication with peripherals. Many major PC vendors have agreed to use this technology in Skylake-based laptops, which should be released by the end of 2015.[43]

The integrated GPU of Skylake's S variant supports DirectX 12 Feature Level 12_1, OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 2.0 standards, as well as some modern hardware video encoding/decoding formats such as VP9 (GPU accelerated decode only), VP8 and HEVC (hardware accelerated 8-bit encode/decode and GPU accelerated 10-bit decode).[44][45][46]

Intel also released unlocked (capable of overclocking) mobile Skylake CPUs.[47]

Unlike previous generations, Skylake-based Xeon E3 no longer works with a desktop chipset that supports the same socket, and requires C230 chipset to operate.

Architecture[edit]

  • Improved front-end, deeper out-of-order buffers, improved execution units, more execution units (third vector integer ALU(VALU)), more load/store bandwidth, improved hyper-threading (wider retirement), speedup of AES-GCM and AES-CBC by 17% and 33% accordingly.[48][49]
  • 14 nm manufacturing process[50]
  • LGA 1151 socket for desktop processors
  • 100 Series chipset (Sunrise Point)[51]
  • Thermal design power (TDP) up to 95 W (LGA 1151)[52]
  • Support for both DDR3L SDRAM and DDR4 SDRAM in mainstream variants, using custom UniDIMM SO-DIMM form factor[53][54][55] with up to 64 GB of RAM on LGA 1151 variants. Usual DDR3 memory is also supported by certain motherboard vendors even though Intel doesn't officially support it.[56][57]
  • Support for 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes from CPU, 20 PCI Express 3.0 lanes from PCH (LGA 1151)
  • Support for Thunderbolt 3 (Alpine Ridge)[58]
  • 64 to 128 MB L4 eDRAM cache on certain SKUs
  • Up to four cores as the default mainstream configuration[53]
  • AVX-512: F, CDI, VL, BW, and DQ for some future Xeon variants, but not Xeon E3[2]
  • Intel MPX (Memory Protection Extensions)
  • Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions)
  • Intel Speed Shift[59]
  • Skylake's integrated Gen9 GPU supports Direct3D 12 at the feature level 12_1[7][60][61]
  • Full fixed function HEVC Main/8bit encoding/decoding acceleration. Hybrid/Partial HEVC Main10/10bit decoding acceleration. JPEG encoding acceleration for resolutions up to 16,000×16,000 pixels. Partial VP9 encoding/decoding acceleration.[62]

Configurations[edit]

Skylake processors are produced in four main families: Y, U, H and S. Multiple configurations are available within each family:[35]

Feature Family
Y U H S
Integrated L4 cache
For lower power consumption mobile or embedded systems
Socketable; for desktop;
some with Configurable thermal design power (cTDP),
selecting 35 W or 95 W modes;
High-performance 95 W TDP version (no L4 cache)
DDR3 SDRAM
(low-power)
DDR4 SDRAM
Smaller than Broadwell counterpart

List of Skylake processors[edit]

Desktop processors[edit]

Target
segment
Cores
(threads)
Processor
branding and model
CPU clock rate CPU Turbo clock rate GPU model Graphics clock rate L1 cache

(data + instruction)

L2

cache

L3
cache
L4
cache
Memory frequency

(max. voltage)

max. amount

Max. PCIe lanes TDP Release
date
Release
price
(USD)
Motherboard
Single core Dual core Quad core Normal Turbo Socket Interface Memory (non-ECC)
Performance 4 (8) Core i7 6700K 4.0 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz HD 530 350 MHz 1150 MHz [63] 4× 32 KB + 4× 32 KB 4× 256 KB 8 MB No DDR3-1600

(1.3500 V)

DDR4-2133

(1.2000 V)

64 GB Maximum

16 91 W Aug. 5, 2015 $339 LGA
1151
DMI 3.0
PCIe 3.0
Dual channel
DDR3L-1600 or
DDR4-2133

DDR3 is
unofficially
supported
through
some motherboard
vendors[64][65][66]

6700 3.4 GHz 4.0 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.7 GHz 65 W Sep. 1, 2015 $303
6700T 2.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.4 GHz 35 W Sep. 1, 2015 $303
Mainstream 4 (4) Core i5 6600K 3.5 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 6 MB 91 W Aug. 5, 2015 $242
6600 3.3 GHz 65 W Sep. 1, 2015 $213
6500 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 1050 MHz $192
6402P 2.8 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.2 GHz HD 510 950 MHz Dec. 27, 2015 $182
6400 2.7 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.1 GHz HD 530 Aug. 5, 2015
2 (4) Core i3 6320 3.9 GHz N/A 1150 MHz 2× 32 KB + 2× 32 KB 2× 256 KB 4 MB 51 W TBD $149
6300 3.8 GHz $138
6100 3.7 GHz 1050 MHz 3 MB October 2015 $117
6300T 3.3 GHz 950 MHz 4 MB 35 W $138
6100T 3.2 GHz 3 MB $117
6098P 3.6 GHz HD 510 1050 MHz 54 W Dec. 27, 2015
2 (2) Pentium G4520 3.6 GHz HD 530 51 W October 2015 $86
G4500 3.5 GHz $75
G4500T 3.0 GHz 950 MHz 35 W Q3 2015
G4400 3.3 GHz HD 510 1000 MHz 54 W October 2015 $64
G4400T 2.9 GHz 950 MHz 35 W Q3 2015
G4400TE 2.4 GHz Q4 2015 $70
Celeron G3920 2.9 GHz 2 MB 51 W $52
G3900 2.8 GHz $42
G3900TE 2.3 GHz 35 W
G3900T 2.6 GHz ?

Mobile processors (See also "Server, Mobile" below)[edit]

Target
segment
Cores
(threads)
Processor
branding and
model
CPU
clock
rate
CPU Turbo clock rate GPU model GPU clock rate L3
cache
L4
cache
Max. PCIe lanes TDP cTDP Release date Price (USD)
Single core Dual core Quad core Base Max. Up Down
Performance 4 (8) Core i7 6970HQ 2.8 GHz 3.7 GHz ? Iris Pro 580 350 MHz 1050 MHz 8 MB 128 MB 16 45 W N/A 35 W Q1 2016 $623
6920HQ 2.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz HD 530 N/A September 1, 2015 $568
6870HQ 2.7 GHz 3.6 GHz ? Iris Pro 580 1000 MHz 128 MB Q1 2016 $434
6820HQ 2.7 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.2 GHz HD 530 1050 MHz N/A September 1, 2015 $378
6820HK
6770HQ 2.6 GHz 3.5 GHz ? Iris Pro 580 950 MHz 6 MB 128 MB Q1 2016 $434
6700HQ 2.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.1 GHz HD 530 1050 MHz N/A September 1, 2015 $378
Mainstream 2 (4) 6660U 2.4 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.2 GHz N/A Iris 540 300 MHz 4 MB 64 MB 12 15 W 9.5 W TBD $415
6650U 2.2 GHz Iris 540
6600U 2.6 GHz N/A HD 520 N/A 25 W 7.5 W September 1, 2015 $393
6567U 3.3 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz Iris 550 1100 MHz 64 MB 28 W N/A 23 W TBD TBD
6560U 2.2 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.1 GHz Iris 540 1050 MHz 15 W 9.5 W
6500U 2.5 GHz 3.1 GHz 3.0 GHz HD 520 N/A 7.5 W September 1, 2015 $393
4 (4) Core i5 6440HQ 2.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.1 GHz HD 530 350 MHz 950 MHz 6 MB 16 45 W 35 W $250
2 (4) 6360U 2.0 GHz 3.1 GHz 2.9 GHz N/A Iris 540 300 MHz 1000 MHz 4 MB 64 MB 12 15 W 9.5 W TBD $304
4 (4) 6350HQ 2.3 GHz 3.2 GHz ? Iris Pro 580 350 MHz 900 MHz 6 MB 128 MB 16 45 W 35 W Q1 2016 $306
6300HQ 3.0 GHz 2.8 GHz HD 530 950 MHz N/A September 1, 2015 $250
2 (4) 6300U 2.4 GHz 3.0 GHz 2.9 GHz N/A HD 520 300 MHz 1000 MHz 3 MB 12 15 W 7.5 W $281
6287U 3.1 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz Iris 550 1100 MHz 4 MB 64 MB 28 W 23 W TBD $304
6267U 2.9 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.1 GHz 1050 MHz 23 W
6260U 1.8 GHz 2.9 GHz 2.7 GHz Iris 540 950 MHz 15 W 9.5 W TBD $304
6200U 2.3 GHz 2.8 GHz HD 520 1000 MHz 3 MB N/A 7.5 W September 1, 2015 $281
Core i3 6167U 2.7 GHz 2.7 GHz Iris 550 64 MB 28 W 23 W TBD $304
6100H HD 530 350 MHz 900 MHz N/A 35 W N/A September 1, 2015 $225
6100U 2.3 GHz 2.3 GHz 2.3 GHz HD 520 300 MHz 1000 MHz 15 W 7.5 W $281
Core m7 6Y75 1.2 GHz 3.1 GHz 2.9 GHz HD 515 300 MHz 4 MB 10 4.5 W 7 W 3.5 W $393
Core m5 6Y57 1.1 GHz 2.8 GHz 2.4 GHz 900 MHz $281
6Y54 2.7 GHz
Core m3 6Y30 0.9 GHz 2.2 GHz 2.0 GHz 850 MHz 3.8 W
Pentium 4405U 2.1 GHz 2.1 GHz 2.1 GHz HD 510 950 MHz 2 MB 15 W N/A 10 W TBD $161
4405Y 1.5 GHz 1.5 GHz 1.5 GHz HD 515 800 MHz 6 W 4.5 W
2 (2) Celeron G3902E 1.6 GHz N/A HD 510 350 MHz 950 MHz 16 25 W N/A Q1 2016 $107
G3900E 2.4 GHz 35 W
3955U 2.0 GHz 300 MHz 900 MHz 10 15 W 10 W Q4 2015
3855U 1.6 GHz

[67]

Server processors[edit]

E3 series server chips all consist of System Bus 9 GT/s, max. memory bandwidth of 34.1 GB/s dual channel memory. Unlike its predecessor, the Skylake Xeon CPUs require a C230 chipset to operate.

Skylake E3-12xx and E3 15xx v5 SKUs
Target
segment
Cores
(threads)
Processor
branding and model
GPU
model
Clock rate L3
cache
L4
cache
TDP Release
date
Release
price (USD)
tray / box
Motherboard
CPU Graphics Socket Interface Memory
Normal Turbo Normal Turbo
Server 4 (8) Xeon E3 v5 1280v5 N/A 3.7 GHz 4.0 GHz N/A 8 MB N/A 80 W Q4 15 $612 / — LGA
1151
DMI 3
PCIe 3.0

DDR4
2133/1866
or
DDR3L
1333/1600
with ECC
1275v5 HD (P530) 3.6 GHz 350 MHz $339 / —
1270v5 N/A 3.6 GHz N/A $328 / $339
1260Lv5 2.9 GHz 3.9 GHz 45 W $294 / —
1245v5 HD (P530) 3.5 GHz 350 MHz 80 W $284 / —
1240v5 N/A 3.5 GHz N/A $272 / $282
1240Lv5 2.1 GHz 3.2 GHz 25 W $278 / —
1230v5 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz 80 W $250 / $260
4 (4) 1235Lv5 HD (P530) 2 GHz 3 GHz 350 MHz 25 W $250 / —
1225v5 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz 80 W $213 / —
1220v5 N/A 3 GHz 3.5 GHz N/A $193 / —
Mobile 4 (8) 1575Mv5 Iris Pro 580 3.0 GHz 3.9 GHz 350 MHz 1.1 GHz 128 MB 45 W Q1 16 $1207 / — BGA
1440

DDR4-2133
LPDDR3-1866
DDR3L-1600
with ECC
1535Mv5 HD (P530) 2.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 1.05 GHz N/A Q3 15 $623 / —
1505Mv5 2.8 GHz 3.7 GHz $434 / —
Server/embedded 1505Lv5 2 GHz 2.8 GHz 1 GHz 25 W Q4 15 $433 / —

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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