Intel Skylake review: Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K - Test Setup and CPU performance Review

Test Setup

For testing the performance of Skylake we partnered our Intel Core i7-6700K (provided by Overclockers UK) and Intel Core i5-6600K with the Asus Z-170-A motherboard, which is a mid-range board costing around £115. It has a good overall selection of features including plenty of overclocking options, making it an ideal partner for our general purpose review.

This we partnered with an 8GB pair (2 x 4GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM rated to 2666MHz. We also used a Corsair H100i GTX all-in-one liquid cooler to ensure every last drop of heat the CPU could throw out was easily wicked away, so as not to affect performance. We also used a Corsair RM750i, 750W power supply, though it’s worth noting that neither the power supply nor the cooler should need to be upgraded if your system already supports recent high-end Intel processors.

Intel Skylake Test Setup

We tested against Intel’s most recent pair of high-end desktop processors, the Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4690K, which are from the refreshed lineup of Haswell processors launched last year. These were partnered with an Asus Maximus VI Hero motherboard and 8GB of DDR3 memory along with the same power supply and cooler.

We also threw in some results for a much more lowly processor, the Core i3-4330. This Haswell-based chip is only dual-core, though does support hyperthreading, and runs at 3.5GHz. It provides a good reference point for how a less powerful and markedly cheaper processor compares to these top-end parts.

The Benchmarks

We’ve focussed on four key tests, each chosen to really tax the CPU exclusively. We’ve also chosen a mixture of single-threaded and multi-threaded tests, so we can examine single-core performance and multi-threaded performance.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a standard, cross-platform CPU test that quickly and accurately tests both single-core and multi-core/multi-threaded performance. It’s freely available to download.

Intel Skylake Cinebench R15

Dolphin Emulator benchmark

The dolphin emulator is used to play Wii and GameCube games on the PC. It’s purely reliant on the CPU so can be highly taxed by some games. It’s also single-threaded, so is a good test of overall single-core speed.

Intel Skylake Dolphin Emulator

Mozilla Kraken

Mozilla’s Kraken benchmark is a web browser-based Javascript benchmark that is a great test of how a CPU copes with modern browser workloads. Its another single-threaded test.

Intel Skylake Mozilla Kraken Benchmark

Handbrake

Handbrake is an open-source video transcoding program that has become the standard way to quickly and easily convert video files from one format to another – ideal for quickly compressing a video to watch on your phone. Its compression algorithms are multi-threaded, so it’s an ideal real-world multi-threaded test. We convert a 651MB 720p MPEG2 video file into h.264 MP4 and time how long it takes.

Intel Skylake Handbrake Video Encoding