Intel Skylake Review

Intel Skylake

Prepare for faster PCs that consume less power – but do you really need them?

Self-explanatory, we’d have thought. Intel has built a giant lake in the sky. The company has invited everyone in the world for a dip.

Spoilsport. The reality, which is only slightly less exciting, is that Skylake is the sixth generation of Intel’s Core processor, succeeding Broadwell. One of its main benefits, Intel says, is that it consumes less power than before, which will make PCs run smoother and extend the battery life of laptops.

Using a technology called ‘Speed Shift’. Intel says this allows the processors to “shift gears” faster than before, cutting the amount of time they are kept running when not required.

Play 4K videos on your PC without sapping your power. It’s been designed to work with the new H.265 video codec, which compresses 4K video files so they can be streamed without having to compromise on picture quality.

The Skylake range also includes a laptop processor that can be overclocked, a trick PC users have been performing for years, typically to make games run faster.

Combine these abilities with Intel’s claim that Skylake can display graphics 30 times faster, and it’s clear the processor has been built especially for the current age of ‘consumption’. Millions of people now use PCs primarily for playing games and watching films – ‘consuming’ entertainment, in other words. Intel hopes the ever-increasing popularity of both will help drive sales of Skylake PCs.

Then you may not appreciate the boost in performance Skylake brings. If you use your PC for less power-intensive tasks, such as browsing the web, editing photos and compiling spreadsheets, you won’t really notice Skylake’s extra oomph.

That depends on how old your current PC is. If you bought one in the past two years, it’s probably powered by a Broadwell or Haswell processor (which launched in 2013). These should be fast enough for many PC users – frustrated gamers excepted. But if your PC is older than that, you’ll see a significant boost by buying a Skylake PC, even when performing tasks that don’t involve games and videos.

This raises another important point related to the launch of Windows 10. In the past, you would often buy a new PC when you wanted to upgrade your operating system. That’s not the case with Windows 10 because it’s a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. That could thwart Intel’s ambition of seeing millions of new computers sold.

It should because it’s been built with the new operating system in mind. For example, the processors will work with Intel’s RealSense depth cameras (, which recognise faces. Microsoft is using this technology in Windows Hello (, a security feature in Windows 10 that lets people sign into their PCs using their faces – much safer than passwords.

Yes, such as the excellent Chillblast Fusion Centurion. It doesn’t have a RealSense camera though, unlike some of the Skylake laptops in Lenovo’s new range, which will be available soon. There should also be Skylake computers from Dell, Acer, Asus and Toshiba within the next few months.

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