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Intel Hardware

Intel Skylake-U For Laptops Posts Solid Gains In Testing, Especially Graphics (hothardware.com) 104

MojoKid writes: Intel's 6th Generation Skylake family of Core processors has been available for some time now for desktops. However, the mobile variant of Skylake is perhaps Intel's most potent incarnation of the new architecture that has been power-optimized on 14nm technology with a beefier graphics engine for notebooks. In late Q3, Intel started rolling out Skylake-U versions of the chip in a 15 Watt TDP flavor. This is the power envelope that most "ultrabooks" are built with and it's likely to be Intel's highest volume SKU of the processor. The Lenovo Yoga 900 tested here was configured with an Intel Core i7-6500U dual-core processor that also supports Intel HyperThreading for 4 logical processing threads available. Its base frequency is 2.5GHz, but the chip will Turbo Boost to 3GHz and down clocks way down to 500MHz when idle. The chip also has 4MB of shared L3 cache and 512K of L2 and 128K of data cache, total. In the benchmarks, the new Skylake-U mobile chip is about 5 — 10 faster than Intel's previous generation Broadwell platform in CPU-intensive tasks and 20+ percent faster in graphics and gaming, at the same power envelope, likely with better battery life, depending on the device.
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Intel Skylake-U For Laptops Posts Solid Gains In Testing, Especially Graphics

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Optimized code for Intel chips runs really well on Intel benchmarks

  • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @07:28PM (#50890035)

    Less than 10% is a "solid improvement" these days?

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dshk ( 838175 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @07:36PM (#50890071)

      Less than 10% is a "solid improvement" these days?

      Sadly, yes. Since AMD does not put any pressure on Intel on the CPU front, 5-10% CPU performance increase per year become the norm.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The truth is, we're simply past the stage of low hanging fruit and easy gains for traditional silicon tech. That was obvious to me around over a dozen years back when clock frquencies stopped increasing that it was just a matter of time. And yes, yes, you can't compare clock frequencies ONLY to make a speed determination between two completely different CPUs... but it does greatly affect speed just like RPM in a motor. It was then I knew they'd work on other stuff to make up for lack of easy frequency ra

        • We went into high-k, a revolution in cache silicone, and aspects of stacked processor design since then. IMO these are fairly fundamental differences.
      • Re:Meh (Score:5, Informative)

        by ranton ( 36917 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @08:54PM (#50890357)

        Since AMD does not put any pressure on Intel on the CPU front, 5-10% CPU performance increase per year become the norm.

        The Intel of 2015 still has a very solid competitor eating into its profits: the Intel of 2010-13. I am typing this on a 2600K I bought in 2011, and I have no intention of upgrading any time soon. I have went from 8 GB of RAM to 16 GB, from a 128 GB SSD to a 480 GB SSD, and I upgraded my monitor setup. But my desktop processor is still more than twice as fast as my 4300U work laptop, which I never worry about being slow. I wouldn't be that surprised if this processor lasts me until 2020, unless it stops working before then.

        • >The Intel of 2015 still has a very solid competitor eating into its profits: the Intel of 2010-13. I am typing this on a 2600K I bought in 2011, and I have no intention of upgrading any time soon. I have went from 8 GB of RAM to 16 GB, from a 128 GB SSD to a 480 GB SSD, and I upgraded my monitor setup. But my desktop processor is still more than twice as fast as my 4300U work laptop, which I never worry about being slow. I wouldn't be that surprised if this processor lasts me until 2020, unless it stops

        • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

          The Intel of 2015 still has a very solid competitor eating into its profits: the Intel of 2010-13. I am typing this on a 2600K I bought in 2011, and I have no intention of upgrading any time soon. I have went from 8 GB of RAM to 16 GB, from a 128 GB SSD to a 480 GB SSD, and I upgraded my monitor setup. But my desktop processor is still more than twice as fast as my 4300U work laptop, which I never worry about being slow. I wouldn't be that surprised if this processor lasts me until 2020, unless it stops wor

      • Re:Meh (Score:4, Informative)

        by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @03:28AM (#50891299)
        It's got nothing to do with AMD. Processor performance hit a brick wall in the early 2000s. Prior to then, most performance gains came from ramping up the clock speed.

        1985 - 2 MHz
        1990 - 33 MHz
        1995 - 300 MHz
        2000 - 1.2 GHz
        2005 - 3.5 GHz
        2010 - 3.7 GHz
        2015 - 4.0 GHz

        At about 3-4 GHz,we reached a point where power leakage made higher frequencies completely impractical. AMD used a more power-thrifty architecture at that time which allowed them to briefly take the CPU lead from Intel, who was completely committed to ramping up clock speed with Prescott. Intel had to abandon netburst and later Intel CPUs were based on the mobile Pentium M, which eschewed high clock speeds to instead concentrate on lower power consumption (it was designed for laptops).

        Ever since then, both Intel and AMD have kept clock speed about the same, and focused instead on redesigning CPUs for more efficient parallel processing, increasing the number of cores, and reducing power consumption. Unless there's some earthshattering technological breakthrough, the days of CPU performance increasing 10x every 5 years are over. 5%-10% a year (about 1.5x increase every 5 years, which is about the performance delta between Sandy Bridge and Skylake) is the new norm. Get used to it.

        Most of the CPU improvements are instead going into reducing power consumption (Skylake uses about 1/3 to 1/4 the power of Sandy Bridge). My phone is more powerful than the computer I was using in 2000 and lasts 36+ hours on a single charge of a battery smaller than a Kit Kat bar. That is mind-boggling if you think about it.
      • by Kartu ( 1490911 )

        AMD is stuck with 28nm fabs.
        AMD has much smaller budget.
        AMD is rapidly losing GPU market share despite having excellent products (both R9 380 and R9 390 rock).

        So yeah, shame on AMD.

        • AMD is rapidly losing GPU market share despite having excellent products (both R9 380 and R9 390 rock).

          What good is the hardware if the drivers suck and have virtually no settings? It would be so easy to fix and instead they make another wacky huge application with in-built social media, built-in advertisements and other nonsense. It seems to me that AMD don't understand and have never really understood what their buyers want.

      • So people can wait 10 years instead of 5 years before they replace their computer?

        Sounds good to me.

      • by nhat11 ( 1608159 )

        You do realize there's more then just pure power improvements in processors nowadays right?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Humph. At this rate it seems I'll finally retire my Sandy Bridge i7 by 2020

      • It will start overheating before then...
        • If that ever happens you change the thermal paste : wipe the old one and put like 10 cents worth of new one.
          You can also undervolt and/or underclock it.
          If the motherboard doesn't fail this should be usable or useful for way more than 10 years.

          • What I've noticed on the older processors that get hot is that the internal bond inside he device doesn't conduct heat as well and the processor goes into a death spiral of increasing temperature if it overheats. I've learned that monitoring the cpu temp and making sure it never gets too hot is critical. If you really want to milk a processor for 10 years (and I have servers older than that) an ounce of thermal prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      In a power-constrained scenario, then yes. Leakage is eating up any power efficiency you get from smaller features. Smaller chips are cheaper to produce - meaning we should get getting them cheaper or more of them if competition was good - but it still wouldn't make a processor do in 10W what last year's processor did with 15W. We're not quite at the end of the road yet but the fat lady is warming up, Intel missing their tick-tock with Kaby Lake is just the first sign.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The smaller chips aren't really even cheaper to produce anymore. There are reasons that companies aren't jumping down to new nodes as fast as they come out, and it's not just availability.

    • The real improvement these days is low power, increased performance from ssd, faster i/o with new chip sets and faster memory with ddr4. Additionally, decent integrated graphics bring overall system cost down. Strictly looking at cpu benchmarks paints a darker picture that is really the case.

      That said, i agree Moore's law seems to be on the ropes...
  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @07:52PM (#50890111)

    the new Skylake-U mobile chip is about 5 â" 10 faster than Intel's previous generation Broadwell platform in CPU-intensive tasks...

    Yeah, well, I'll be impressed when it goes to 11.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @07:56PM (#50890127)

    Pounds or kilograms? Don't leave us hanging!

    If only Moore's Law described the cost and performance of competent editing.

  • They've got over a dozen product lines going and numerous iterations underneath that. The overlap is insane. Aside from graphics speed, the chips don't get much faster. The performance of this cpu is still in the range of 5 year old i7 mobile processors. The only reason to upgrade to a newer computer is just features, speed isn't really there unless you have a celeron.
  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @08:57PM (#50890367)

    For some reason I get very nervous with an out of band remote proprietary management system baked into recent Intel chips, which operates below the OS, and has not been independently audited and reviewed by trusted 3rd parties (such as those not associated with mass surveillance).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Note that AMT is also in all Intel chips with vPro:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    This posting from the FSF (Free Software Foundation) has a decent writeup about it:
    https://fsf.org/blogs/communit... [fsf.org]

    It seems that we are now in the age of hardware backdoors.

    Maybe AMD which cannot seem to compete with Intel on performance and low-power, can make a niche for itself as a secure (backdoorless) alternative.

    These days, I would value my privacy over performance.

    • For some reason I get very nervous with an out of band remote proprietary management system baked into recent Intel chips, which operates below the OS, and has not been independently audited and reviewed by trusted 3rd parties (such as those not associated with mass surveillance).

      What is known isn't good either. All you need is a valid certificate purchasable from any CA in AMTs root list to totally own any system with default configuration if your ever in a position to broadcast DHCP...oh and the computer doesn't even need to be turned on to do it.

      It seems that we are now in the age of hardware backdoors.

      It can be disabled from bios in some systems and effectively nerf'd in others by disabling I/O virtualization needed to "share" hardware such as your NIC with the operating system.

      Maybe AMD which cannot seem to compete with Intel on performance and low-power, can make a niche for itself as a secure (backdoorless) alternative.

      These days, I would value my privacy over performance.

      It is a good idea to check with vendor to make sure AMT c

    • AMD does fine at low power, at least after Carrizo release:
      http://www.anandtech.com/show/... [anandtech.com]

      E.g. in HP EliteBook 725 G3, 7+ hours on battery:
      http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/... [hp.com]

    • Maybe AMD which cannot seem to compete with Intel on performance and low-power, can make a niche for itself as a secure (backdoorless) alternative.

      Don't bet on it; I recall credible reports of backdoors in AMD chips over a decade ago...

  • percent (Score:4, Informative)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @10:22PM (#50890659)

    >"In the benchmarks, the new Skylake-U mobile chip is about 5 - 10 faster than Intel's previous generation Broadwell platform in CPU-intensive tasks"

    That is 5 to 10 *PERCENT* faster. Not a huge whoop. Of course, any improvement is an improvement. (At first I was reading it as "5 to 10 times faster")

  • Does anyone who cares about graphics use the Intel graphics card? Yes, the kids playing a flash game may see a difference, though they wouldn't care, but anyone who runs a game doesn't do so on an integrated card. Even the best integrated cards have trouble with modern games at relatively low levels. The latest generation had the i5/i7 difference be the mainly the integrated graphics. Worse generation "improvement" ever.
    • Not everyone plays games. The graphics matter because it means running every day applications with reasonable responsiveness on laptops which don't have space for a spare card. A 2 pound laptop running both an internal screen and an external desktop at 7680x2160 with a 60Hz refresh and it still gets 6 hours of useful battery life? Fucking fabulous, let me tell you. FPS in games doesn't even make the top ten in 90% of laptop users want lists.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Yes, at least for the desktop line. Because for my needs, the integrated graphics are more than enough. Very low power requirements and not having to have a bulky card keeping the overall volume of the case minimal are more important.

  • by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Sunday November 08, 2015 @11:34PM (#50890853) Homepage

    mobile i7 = desktop i3, gotta love lack of competition :(

  • So now, after 18 months in development, a 15% gain is "solid". Not worth changing your laptop over this.

  • Oh, sure, the graphics on these chips is worlds better than previous generations, and the power savings is great. BUT, if you can run their drivers without constant crashes and kernel panics it's not really a step forward. Most of the U series laptops and tablets our there are having a myriad of problems - hue shifts, sleep power drain, failure to wake up, driver crash/restarts and - yes - straight up kernel panics/BSOD that require a reboot. It looks like they hires a bunch of amateurs to code this round of drivers.

    • So true. Their X79 boards were plagued with UEFI and chipset driver problems, never fixed--they actually dropped their Mobo line completely after that boondoggle. Drivers for NUC have suffered years of neglect. Integrated products still have some kind of interference between USB 3 ports and ethernet, that you can't use a wireless keyboard more than two feet away from the NUC (same was true of the X79, never fixed). I couldn't believe it when I had to connect an extender to my NUC to use a wireless keyboard

      • Everyone who bought a MS Surface Pro / Book at launch, especially those who switched from Macs, are collectively losing their shit all over the internet. Now that other Skylake U chips are showing up in other mfrs laptops, it's quickly becoming obvious that it's an Intel problem rather than a MS one.

  • I'm still rocking a Phenom II x6, and in Linux when I have the CPU governor set to 'conservative' or something similar, it'll drop to 800 Mhz like it's nothing, and shed 40 watts of power consumption. Stock clock for it is 2.4 Ghz, but it'll go up to 3.5 Ghz just fine if I don't put it into sleep mode. How, then, is this such a big deal? Just because it's mobile?
  • Yes, the graphics are likely better, but sadly if you want a powerful dual-core, there isn't much to cheer about.

In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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