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Intel Officially Announces Core i9 Launching Date, Features, Specs


Skylake is the codename for Intel's sixth-generation range of Core laptop and desktop PC processors. They've already been superseded by the seventh-gen CPUs.

But Skylake isn't dead yet. No. Intel has launched Skylake X CPUs, which are the high-end enthusiast versions.

Interestingly, Intel isn't using the Core i7 branding as it has done in previous years but add a new number: 9. The Core i9 range could be in response to AMD's Ryzen processors, which were named to seem similar to Intel's Core i5 and i7 ranges.

Rather than cut profit margins and compete on price, Intel might be trying to position the new chips as 'better than Ryzen 7' by using a higher number.

AMD, of course, has already announced its Threadripper range, which is expected to be branded Ryzen 9. Intel has trumped AMD's 32-core flagship chip with the 36-core i9-7980XE monster, but AMD could be keeping a similar chip under wraps for now.

Pricing will be key, though, and the $1999 i9-7980XE will hit any wallet hard.


When is the Core i9 release date?
Release date: June 2017*
At the chips' launch at Computex 2017, Intel said the new processors would be on sale "in the coming weeks". *That applies to the Core i9-7900X downwards.

The i9-7920X will go on sale in August, while the top three chips don't yet have an official release date.

Originally, Skylake processors (including the Core i7-6600K and Core i7-6700K) went on sale on 5 August 2015, and the locked-multiplie desktop chips launched at the start of September 2015.

What are the Core i9 models and specifications?

The processors will require a motherboard with the LGA 2066 Socket (called R4) and the X299 chipset, which is part of the Basin Falls platform.

The eagle-eyed will note that there are three Core i7 models in that chart: Skylake-X isn't just Core i9. (However, the i7-7740X is based around a Kaby Lake Core).
There's also a single Core i5 model. These cheaper processors are aimed at enthusiasts who want an overclockable processor on a tighter budget.

They have 1MB of L2 Cache, which is four times as much as the Core i7-7700K.
All Core i9s support quad-channel DDR4-2666 RAM.

X299 chipset
Here's how the X299 chipset compares with the X99 chipset:


X299 motherboards double the bandwidth to SATA and USB connectors compared to X99, and allows up to ten USB 3.0 ports and eight SATA III ports.

There are up 24 PCIe lanes provided by the chipset, but additional lanes supported by the CPU itself can be used by a motherboard for things such as NVMe storage.

Original Skylake CPUsHere are the key specs for the original Skylake desktop processors, which you can buy from Amazon:
Core i5-6400
  • Socket 1151
  • Quad-core (4 threads)
  • 2.7GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
  • 6MB L3 cache
  • Intel HD 530 graphics @ 350MHz, boosting to 950MHz
  • 65W
  • Price: £149.99 inc VAT

Core i5-6500

  • Socket 1151
  • Quad-core (4 threads)
  • 3.2GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
  • 6MB L3 cache
  • Intel HD 530 graphics @ 350MHz, boosting to 11050MHz
  • 65W TDP
  • Price: £159.99 inc VAT

Core i5-6600
  • Socket 1151
  • Quad-core with HyperThreading (8 threads)
  • 3.3GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 6MB L3 cache
  • Intel HD 530 graphics @ 350MHz, boosting to 1050MHz
  • 65W TDP
  • Price: £179.99 inc VAT

Core i5-6600K

  • Socket 1151
  • Quad-core (4 threads)
  • 3.5GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 6MB L3 cache
  • Intel HD 530 graphics @ 350MHz, boosting to 1150MHz
  • 91W TDP
  • Price: £199.99 inc VAT

Core i7-6700

  • Socket 1151
  • Quad-core with HyperThreading (8 threads)
  • 3.4GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
  • 8MB L3 cache
  • Intel HD 530 graphics @ 53MHz, boosting to 1150MHz
  • 91W TDP
  • Price: £244.99 inc VAT
Core i7-6700K

  • Socket 1151
  • Quad-core with HyperThreading (8 threads)
  • 4.0GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
  • 8MB L3 cache
  • Intel HD 530 graphics @ 53MHz, boosting to 1150MHz
  • 91W TDP
  • Price: £263.99 inc VAT

What are Skylake's features and chipsets?

When it launched, one of the reasons to buy a PC with a Skylake chip was the sheer number of new features it brought. Rather than being a simple performance bump, Skylake was first to support DDR4 memory.


Skylake arrived with the '100-series' chipset, codenamed Sunrise Point. The Z170 Express replaced the Z97, which itself was not a massive upgrade from Z87.

The chipset supports up to 20 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, up to 10 USB 3.0 ports and 14 USB 2.0 ports. Motherboards with the Z170 Express chipset can have up to six SATA ports and an eSATA channel, plus Intel's Rapid Storage Technology for PCIe storage devices including NVMe.

The Core i7 chips have 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for graphics which can be split into 1x 16-lane, 2x 8-lane or 1x 8-lane and 2x 4-lane channels. The memory controller supports dual-channel DDR4 or DDR3L DRAM, and they use Socket 1151.

The H170 chipset replaced the H97 for mainstream PCs, while the H110 is the 'value' offering, replacing the H81 and various other chipsets.

Overclocking
The K versions of Skylake are multiplier unlocked. Interestingly, the base clock is separate from the PCI-E bus. This means you can adjust the core clock frequency of the chip without affecting anything else. However, overclockers will still change the multiplier and voltage to see the biggest performance gains, so there's not much change overall.


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