We have already seen some leaked press shots of Sony’s new smartphones, the Sony Xperia Z5, Z5 Premium and Z5 compact and now we have some actual photos of the handsets.
The photos were posted online by nu.nl and they give us a look at the design of Sony’s latest flagship smartphones, which will be unveiled at IFA later this week.
The Sony Xperia Z5 is rumored to come with a 5.2 inch display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is said to feature a 5.2 inch display with a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and the Z5 Compact is rumored to have a 4.6 inch display with a HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
All handsets will feature Sony’s new flagship Exmor RS camera sensor which is said to come with 23 megapixel. We will have full specifications on these new Xperia smartphones when they are made official later this week.
Amazon has this week enabled the ability for Amazon Prime users to be able to download and view Amazon Prime content offline, just in-case an Internet connection is not always available to stream the content to your devices.
Beating its main competitor Netflix by rolling out the feature first. The new Amazon Prime offline content is supported by Android, iOS and Amazon Fire tablets and devices and will appear as an option is you are using a compatible device.
The time period Amazon Prime users have to view a downloaded video offline varies by title. Amazon explains more :
Download availability depends on our agreements with content owners. We’re constantly working to establish and enhance these agreements so we can offer a download option for as many Prime titles as possible.
If you’re using a compatible device, a Download option displays in the video details for Prime titles you can download. To download Prime Instant Video titles:
1. Make sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi or wireless network. You need an active Internet connection to complete video downloads.
2. Find the Prime title you want to download and open the video details.
3. Tap the Download option. Tip: For TV shows, select the episode you want to download, and then look for the Download (“down arrow”) icon. Once the download is complete, a “Downloaded” or “check mark” icon displays in the video details.
A notification typically displays onscreen when the viewing period for a title is almost over. Onscreen notifications also display if you’ve downloaded the maximum amount of Prime titles (across all the devices on your account) and need to delete one or more to proceed with the current download.
It was an odd move when Nintendo decided to release just the New 3DS XL in the US this winter instead of its smaller New 3DS. Why would Nintendo shun American gamers by not offering a smaller, more portable handheld? Who knows? But they are making good on it now with this special bundle.
Nintendo has revealed that it’s bringing the New 3DS to the US on September 25th as part of a $220 Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer bundle. So if you want one and you like that game, you will want to grab this and enjoy Nintendo’s latest portable console design for yourself.
This console is Animal Crossing themed. The NFC Reader which you need to load up on Amiibo figurines and card will also arrive that day for only $20 if you need that too.
This is a start. Hopefully soon you will be able to get a plain non-themed New 3DS. Nintendo is sure to expand the selection pretty soon, but for now this is what US fans have in the way of the New 3DS. Once they sell enough, I’m sure they will offer it up in several cool colors and styles. Better late than never I guess.
Adonit has unveiled a new addition to their range of tablet and smartphone stylus this week, with the introduction of the new Adonit Jot Dash that does not require a Bluetooth connection to your device to function.
Even though the stylist does not require Bluetooth the new Dash stylus is equipped precision tracking and an internal battery that is capable of providing up to 14 hours of continual use on a single charge and when flat can be recharged in just 45 minutes.
Without needing to connect both stylus and tablet together via Bluetooth, enables users to make notes or sketches even faster, and is fitted with a 1.9 mm tip for extra accuracy. The Jot Dash supports all iOS and Android touch screens and is now available to purchase price to $50, watch the video below to see it in action.
Land Rover has unveiled new see-through trailer concept technology it has been developing that allows the removal or the blind stop created when towing behind your vehicle. Together with a new Cargo Sense App that can be used on your smartphone.
The Land Rover Transparent Trailer system is currently in its prototype development stage and like other we have featured here on Geeky Gadgets combines the video feed from the vehicle’s existing surround camera system.
The Land Rover system utilises the reversing camera and a camera on each wing mirror with a video from a digital wireless camera that is placed on the rear of the trailer or caravan. Watch the video below learn more.
Features of the new system include :
– Makes a trailer or caravan appear see-through when being towed – Removes the blind spot created when towing, making overtaking safer and help trailer manoeuvring by improving visibility – Cargo Sense App allows drivers to monitor the status of the trailer and cargo remotely via smartphone – Sensors on the floor of a trailer could alert the driver if the load is shifting, or if a horse is in distress – reducing the potential for accidents and injuries – Technology prototype in a Range Rover research vehicle will be demonstrated at the Burghley Horse Trials 3rd – 6th September
The best thing about new PCs that come out during major technology transitions is they can be absolutely overflowing with the latest features. Toshiba’s new Satellite Radius 12 announced Wednesday is a perfect example of that. This 12.5-inch convertible is a slick, feature-stuffed laptop designed to turn heads and encourage envy among your techy friends.
The first drool factor is the screen, which is a 12.5-inch IPS touchscreen display with 3840-by-2160 “4K” resolution. That’s four times the number of pixels in a 1080p display. At this point I’d like to direct all audio/visual purists to the comment section below to vent over whether an UltraHD display is worth it on a screen this size.
For the rest of us, let’s just back away very, very slowly and move on, albeit not before noting that the Satellite Radius 12’s color accuracy is certified by Technicolor and supports 100 percent Adobe RGB color space reproduction.
In a nod to the awesomeness of Windows 10, the new Radius 12 comes with an infrared camera for use with Windows Hello. A new feature in Windows 10, Hello uses excellent facial recognition technology to let you login to your laptop with your face. Very few laptops support Windows Hello at this early point of Windows 10’s lifespan.
The Satellite Radius 12 will also come packed with as yet unnamed sixth-generation Skylake Intel Core processors. There’s no word on how many different versions of the Radius 12 will be available, which means RAM and storage configurations are also unknown.
The Radius 12 chassis has a brushed metal finish, and other niceties include a backlit LED keyboard. The convertibility of the laptop’s 360-degree hinge allows you to use it as a laptop, tablet, lay it down flat, tent it to make it a display others can see, or put it in laptop mode but swivel the screen for watching movies with the keyboard out of the way. Toshiba’s new Radius 12 weighs in just under three pounds and offers a slim 0.6-inch profile.
The laptop will start shipping at some point between October and December. Pricing wasn’t announced, but don’t expect the fully bling-out version to be cheap.
The impact on you at home: If you’re in the market for a new laptop it would be wise to hold off for a few months if at all possible. PC manufacturers are gearing up to release some solid Windows 10 machines packed with Intel’s new Skylake processors that can easily handle extra features like UltraHD screens and infrared cameras for Windows Hello.
While you wait, now is the perfect time to peruse the tech news, as most manufacturers are showing off their late 2015/early 2016 gear during IFA Berlin. Check out PCWorld’s full IFA 2015 coverage for analysis and reports from the show floor all week long.
If a single M.2 drive is too pathetic with its 1GBps read speed, then MSI has your number: The company said its updated Skylake gaming laptop will feature “Super RAID 4,” which combines two PCIe NVMe M.2 drives into RAID 0.
The result is a read speed pushing roughly 2GBps. Super RAID 4 will be featured in the company’s updated Skylake-based laptops, announced Wednesday at IFA in Berlin.
The RAID NVMe is just one feature on a massive checklist. Unlike some laptop makers with USB-C but no Thunderbolt 3.0 (looking at you, MacBook 12) the MSI machines integrate Intel’s Alpine Ridge controller with full-rate USB 3.1 at 10Gbps and Thunderbolt 3 at 40Gbps. The newfangled USB-C connector, however, will be featured only on the thinner and lighter versions of MSI’s gaming lineup. The big GT80 Titan and GT72 won’t have USB-C.
Other updates to the MSI’s gaming lineup include improved backlit keys. Although you won’t get per-key lighting, the MSI made the keys brighter by removing the skirts around the keycaps.
Audio fans get love too. With Windows 10 native support for lossless FLAC audio, MSI said it worked with ESS to integrate its Sabre HiFi in the new laptops. MSI says its new laptops support 24-bit/192KHz and 32-bit/384KHz audio.
And, of course, there’s Skylake. It’s a given the laptops will feature Intel’s latest quad-core Skylake CPUs with DDR4 support too. That means MSI’s new gaming lineup can pack up to 64GB of DDR4 modules.
Why this matters: MSI’s gaming laptop shows off some of Skylake’s most intriguing features, from DDR4 to new kinds of connectivity. It’s too early to tell whether the new chip will goose PC sales, but if nothing else, it’s inspiring new waves of PC design.
Trying to figure out which sixth-generation Intel Core chip to buy in Intel’s Skylake family is like going to a preseason baseball or football game. There are numbers everywhere. Somewhere in the crowd are the superstars. But which ones?We can’t test everything at PCWorld, but what we can do is provide a handy scorecard of the Skylake chips Intel is launching Tuesday at the IFA show in Berlin. We’ve already told you why Skylake is a “sixth-generation CPU”, what you need to know about Skylake, and even an early review of the i7-6700K, one of the high-end desktop Skylake chips Intel will ship this fall.
Here’s what you need to know about Skylake in a nutshell: The prices that Intel has published appear to essentially to be the same that Intel is charging for its Broadwell chips—meaning that, from a price perspective, it’s a no-brainer to bypass Broadwell or Haswell for Skylake. But there’s a catch for desktop users: Skylake uses a new motherboard socket and memory, meaning that you’ll practically have to invest wholesale in a new system.
For laptop users Skylake does hit a new, lower, power threshold, so your portable’s battery should theoretically last a bit longer.
Intel announced five families of microprocessors at IFA: four for the Core family, as well as new Core m (yes, lowercase ‘m’) designations for the i3, i5, and i7. If you’re buying an Intel-based tablet, chances are it will include a Core Y-series chip. Thin-and-light notebooks will use the U-series chips. So-called “ultimate mobile” systems and performance workstations will include the H-series chips, while the S-series chips will be included in both performance and value desktops, all-in-ones, and mini PCs.
A quick guide to the charts
We’ve included Intel’s processor charts throughout this story. Just like baseball statistics have evolved from batting average and ERA to WAR and OPS+, so have the metrics Intel uses to describe its processors. Price, clock speed and the number of cores still remain as the primary metrics. Just note that the price Intel is quoting are for a bulk order in lots of 1,000. You’ll typically pay more for an individual chip initially.
(And while this may sound obvious, here’s a handy tip: Almost all 6th-generation Core chips—aka the “Skylake” family—use a ‘6’ as the first number of their product name, such as the i5-6500T.)
Modern operating systems like Windows 10 are better at divvying up tasks among the multiple cores that most processors include, so a greater number of cores and threads generally translates into improved performance. If necessary, those cores can kick into “turbo mode,” temporarily overclocking themselves to complete a task quickly. Core i3 chips lack this capability.
Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about Intel’s Stable Image Platform (SIPP) or Small Business Advantage (SBA) technologies. Ditto for Intel vPro. You might want to consider buying a chip with Intel TXT technology built in, however; that’s the Trusted eXecution Environment which seems to be at the heart of new Windows technologies such asWindows Hello and Passport. Virtually all of the new Skylake chips include virtualization technology—a geeky way to test out a future version of Windows 10, but essential if you want to run Android apps on your PC.
Note: Not everything Intel is announcing today will be immediately available. (If the price is listed as “To Be Determined,” (TBD) Intel will ship it at a later date — either during the fourth quarter or in early 2016.)
High-end desktops: the S series
While Intel hasn’t announced any of its high-end “Extreme Edition” parts yet, the first thing that should strike you is the overall reduction in power, although it may not seem apparent initially.
An Intel 4GHz Core i7-4790K Haswell CPU, for example, is rated to dissipate 88 watts of heat. Its direct replacement is the 4GHz Core i7-6700K, which has a “TDP” rating of 91 watts. Both of these CPUs are designed for enthusiasts who will overclock.
The better comparison would be the 3.6GHz Core i7-4790 chip that doesn’t overclock. Even with its lower clock speeds, it maintains the same TDP rating of 84 watts. For Skylake, the 3.4GHz Core i7-6700 that can’t be overclocked has a TDP rating of 65 watts. To be fair to Haswell, there was a Core i7-4790S version with the same TDP rating as its Skylake counterpart, but the clocks drop even lower, to 3.2GHz.
Even though Skylake represents a processor redesign and not a process shrink—where most of the power reduction takes place—Skylake should consume less power than a similar Haswell chip.
The other thing to notice is that, at least for now, all of the desktop chips that Intel has announced have at most four cores and eight threads. Intel’s Core i7-5820K and higher “Haswell-E” chips that use larger sockets and don’t contain integrated graphics all contain 6 cores and 12 threads. It’s not clear whether Intel plans to add similar parts in the future, or leave a 4-core/8-thread as the high end in the smaller socket.
What does seem clear, though, is that are only single Core i5 and Core i7 unlocked “K” versions of the Skylake parts; it’s virtually assured that more will be added over time.
From a graphics perspective, the desktop chips are virtually identical: They all use the new Intel HD Graphics 530 core. Just be aware that some of the slower chips—the i5-6400, specifically—have their graphics cores clocked lower under load. Still to come are Intel’s Skylake chips using embedded DRAM, which should greatly increase graphics performance.
The desktop Pentium chips
Intel resuscitated the Pentium brand awhile back, a seemingly odd throwback to the days not too long past when gamers had to tweak HIMEM.SYS and other system files to allow their PCs to work. Today, an Intel Pentium is synonymous with low cost. Intel will also launch Celeron versions of Skylake in the future, at an even cheaper price.
You can see that buying a Pentium isn’t that bad of a deal for basic computing. Here’s the interesting thing, though: Because there’s no Turbo Boost self-overclocking mode, the Pentiums are actually clocked faster than some of their Core cousins. Couple that with a pared-down cache to save cost, and the result is a cheap chip that’s going to run at full speed fairly aggressively. The only caveat is the lack of Hyper-Threading, which is Intel’s virtual CPU technology that makes two CPU cores act like four. Depending on what you do though, you may not feel it.
And no, cheap gamers, we asked: Intel said none of the new Skylake Pentiums support overclocking, like it did with the “Anniversary Edition” Pentium G3258.
Intel’s mobile Skylakes include Xeon, overclocking
Intel can’t shave as much power in the mobile space, where the maximum thermal power of a Broadwell chip, 47 watts, is nearly identical to the 45 watts that a mobile Skylake processor consumes. Here, though, Intel is focusing on the time in which the chip needs to be powered up. Intel’s Skylake-specific Speed Shift feature reduces the time in which a chip needs to shift from a high-power to a low-power sleep state to as little as 1ms, versus 30ms or so before. This sounds like a tiny detail, but when the chip is constantly shifting from a full-power “busy” state to a sleep state, it’s a big deal.
One of the oddities of the new mobile Skylake line is the new mobile Xeon “server” processor, designed for true mobile workstations. Intel has already begun shipping the chip—at the SigGRAPH show in August, Lenovo announced the P50 and P70 workstations, including the chip as well as peripheral enhancements like Thunderbolt 3.0, based on the new Intel Alpine Ridge controller.
Gamers, though, may want to think about the Core i7-6820HK. Why? Because it carries that magical “K” suffix, meaning that it’s overclockable. Yes, an overclockable mobile chip! At IDF, Intel executives said we’d be seeing laptops with an easy-peasy, one-touch overclocking mode by way of a ‘turbo’ button. It’s possible that some might be shown off at the IFA show this week. We’ll keep our eyes out.
In general, though, Intel’s mobile chips show a definite progression down the performance curve: The more expensive Core i7s boast larger cache, robust Turbo Modes, and a faster maximum graphics clock speed. All of these factors decline as the processors step down into the Core i5 and Core i3 range.
Be aware that Intel also has two other lineups of Core i7/i5/i3 for ultrabook PCs consuming 28 and 15 watts. In general, you should expect lower performance but longer battery life with these chips. Because laptops in general are getting thinner by the day, it might not be totally clear whether you’re buying an ‘ultrabook’ or just a thin laptop.
These lower-power chips differ from the more robust 45-watt variants in two key ways: The number of cores are significantly reduced. Also, Intel has included what appears to be a down-clocked mode, for activities like simply displaying this article, for example, that require less exertion from a chip.
You’ll also notice two graphics variations: a slightly underclocked version of the HD Graphics included on the 45-watt chips, as well as an entirely different Iris Graphics architecture. The Iris Graphics brand has generally been used for Intel’s premium graphics product, which means the lower-power products may actually outperform the chips with more cores. (But note the “TBD” designation in the pricing column. Iris Graphics is coming later, and Intel’s not saying when.)
If you’re wondering why, it’s likely because higher-wattage quad-cores are almost always coupled with discrete graphics for more performance. The lower-power U-series chips almost always go it alone with integrated graphics. Still to come will be the Iris Pro version, using its own dedicated 64MB or 128MB eDRAM frame buffer.
One has to wonder whether, over time, Intel might add a 4-core/8-thread version of the 28W Core i7 chip, as a middle ground for gamers. Eventually, the PCI-SIG hopes to mainstream a technology called Oculink, which lets gamers could tote around a low-power laptop by day and connect it to an external GPU for gaming after hours.
The Core M (sorry, Core m) now has its own naming scheme
So-called two-in-one or hybrid devices occupy their own little niche: Sometimes they’re a tablet, and sometimes they’re a notebook. Now, with Intel’s new Skylake Core m chips, you’ll have a better sense of what’s what.
What surprises me most, however, is the price Intel’s charging—almost $300 a pop in most cases. That means the Skylake Core m definitely won’t be appearing in devices that will compete with Android tablets. For the price of a Core m, you’d be able to buy a decent Android tablet all by itself.
The Core m, however, features both upclocked and downclocked modes, allowing the tablet to rev up when needed, then clock down when not. (The Core m3 can also enter Turbo Mode, unlike the Core i3.)
While the Intel HD Graphics 515 chip is part of the Skylake family, it’s pretty bare-bones in terms of performance. Still, the selling point is power: Core m chips run at just 4.5 watts, and Intel believes you’ll get up to ten hours of battery life with a Core m tablet.
Know your chips to make the best purchase
If you’ve read this far, you should have a better idea of what distinguishes which Intel Skylake chip from another. It’s useful information, because eventually, you’re going to see an ad or a sign advertising a “Core i7” computer on heavy discount, and you’re going to be tempted. You should be able to figure out whether the vendor is selling an older Broadwell chip, or perhaps a low-end Core i3 that isn’t what you’ll want.
Remember, too, that Intel’s Skylake is more than just a chip—it’s also a collection of technologies designed to revamp the PC. To learn more about those, see our overview of Intel’s Skylake.
Intel’s Skylake CPUs aspire to nothing less than a complete overhaul of the PC, from performance to connectivity, security, and more. After rushing through its Broadwell generation, however, Intel’s been more careful in introducing its new flagship. It started with just a few gaming PCs at Gamescon. Intel meted out a few more key details at its Intel Developer Forum in August. As of Wednesday at IFA in Berlin, we have a nearly complete picture: its speeds, feeds, and prices, as well as much more about the internal design—and the hopes and dreams riding on this new family of chips.It’s a big family, too. By our count, Intel’s announcing 48 new Skylake sixth-generationCore chips this week at IFA: the Core Y-series chips for tablets, U-series chips for thin-and-light notebooks, and the H-series chips for “ultimate mobile” and performance mobile workstations, while the S-series chips will be included in both performance and value desktops, all-in-ones, and mini PCs. In an unexpected twist, Intel will also apply its good-better-best branding to its Core M lineup (along with a confusing naming switch to a lowercase ‘m’). If you’re building a desktop PC, be aware that the new Skylake chips use a new LGA 1151 socket, meaning that you won’t be able to use your existing motherboard.
Like Windows 10, this is just the beginning of an ongoing launch. Throughout the fourth quarter and into 2016, Intel plans to launch vPro versions of the Core i5, Core i7, m5, and m7 chips; plus more Pentium and Celeron versions. Intel will also launch a Xeon-branded version of Skylake for servers.
Why this matters: The PC market continues to shrink, and Windows 10 isn’t helping—its free Windows upgrade is letting a lot of consumers hold onto their older PCs. With Skylake, Intel is bringing a host of new features that will give new generations of PCs something to brag about. Whether those innovations will spur much-needed sales remains to be seen.
Skylake needs to do more
“It’s the best processor we’ve ever done,” said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel. But the company knows Skylake needs to be more than a simple CPU if it means to reinvigorate the PC. A decent chunk of Intel’s Skylake vision concerns its related PC technologies: things like wire-free charging and display; TrueKey security, and its RealSense cameras.
Intel executives said the PC industry is on the cusp of an important change, driven by Skylake. Over 300 different PC designs are expected over the next several quarters, all based on the sixth-generation Core technology.
The new PCs’ features should lure users away from their older systems—at least, that’s the plan. “There’s over a billion PCs that are more than three years old now. They’re slow to wake, they don’t have much battery life, and they can’t compete with all these new experiences,“ Skaugen said of the Skylake PC generation.
Intel designs chips on a “tick-tock” basis: first migrating an existing design to a new process technology, then designing a new chip from the ground up. The 14-nm Skylake chips use the same process as Broadwell, but scale from a tiny 4.5 watts for the Core m to 91 watts for the most powerful Core i7s. Intel claims that the Skylake mobile chips are up to 60 percent faster than the mobile Haswell chips launched in Jan. 2014, yet they consume 60 percent less power, and outperform those chips by 40 percent in graphics.
“The overall challenge of the design was to have the scalability as well as the improvements,” according to Shlomit Weiss, the vice president of the Platform Engineering Group at Intel. Those requirements were met with a mixture of consternation and innovation alike from the engineers Weiss manages, with some claiming it was impossible. “We proved them wrong,” she said during a briefing with reporters.
How did Intel succeed? Through an emphasis on cutting out power through design alone, Weiss said. Each little improvement adds up: adding a digital PLL for “major” power savings across the whole of the chip; increasing speed with a lower minimum voltage; and doubling the number of manageable power domains. With Skylake, PC makers are now able to set their own constraints, too: throttling a CPU if a notebook detects that the underside is too hot, or giving a burst of power when needed.
Probably the most interesting power-saving technology in Skylake is something called Speed Shift. Previous generations of Intel chips used the Windows operating systems as a power manager, letting it decide whether it needed to be in an active or low-power state. With Speed Shift, Skylake manages itself. Skylake now takes just a single millisecond to drop into a low-power state, rather than the 30 ms it previously required. The snappy responsiveness lets the PC switch faster from a a low-power state to full performance and back again, Weiss said.
The lowest-power offerings in Intel’s Skylake lineup are the Core M chips, now rebranded, inexplicably, as the Core m. These will be the foundation of so-called two-in-one devices, consuming just 4.5 watts. With Skylake, they’ll be a bit easier to distinguish, carrying the “good, better, best” branding of the Core i3, i5, and i7. In the first quarter of 2016, Intel will even build its next version of its Compute Stick around one.
That’s not to say that the Skylake mobile chips are anemic, power-sipping processors. In fact, Intel has two mobile chips designed for power users: a new Xeon “server” processor, designed for true mobile workstations, and the Core i7-6820HK, an overclockable mobile processor. At IDF, Intel executives said we’d be seeing laptops with an easy-peasy, one-touch overclocking mode by way of a ’turbo’ button. Let’s see when and if they happen.
Graphics improvements in mobile, desktop
Skylake also includes a step up in the graphics department, pairing the Intel HD Graphics 515, 520, and 530 cores with their respective processors: the Y-Series, the U-Series, and the H-Series chips.
Intel is claiming that Skylake’s graphics performance could be up to 40 percent faster than Broadwell measured via the Sky Diver benchmark, though that’s based on a comparison between the Intel Graphics HD 5300 core found in the prior Broadwell based Core M-5Y71, and the Intel HD Graphics 515 core built into the Skylake Core m-6Y75. Intel is also using the same two chips as a basis for saying the HD Graphics 500 series will improve 4K content creation up to 20 percent faster and ensure 10 hours of battery life when playing back full HD video.
All of the 5-series graphics cores will support a display across three 4K monitors, a substantial increase in graphics horsepower. Intel also made substantial improvements in ultra low power 4K video playback and related scaler and conversion engines, Intel’s Shenoy said.
In the future, Intel plans to add a version of its higher-performance Iris Graphics technology to some of its lower-power mobile offerings, together with most likely either a 32MB or 64MB dedicated eDRAM frame buffer. Although they won’t offer the performance of a new GPU card, you’ll still see a graphics boost.
Desktops will require a redesign
As with the majority of Intel’s “tock” processor redesigns, Intel has paired a new LGA 1151 socket with the new Z170 chipset, and mainstream support for DDR4 memory. While older DDR3 memory modules are supported, they’re specifically low-voltage DDR3L modules, implying they’ll be reserved for specialty low-power applications. In other words, while you might be able to jury-rig a build of an older hard drive and graphics card, your motherboard, CPU, and memory will have to be repurchased.
Naturally, Intel—as well as the PC industry—has absolutely no problem with that. Over the last five years, PCs powered by Intel chips have performed 2.5 times faster, with a thirtyfold increase in graphics and a threefold improvement in battery life, Skaugen said.
“The most beautiful and powerful systems are coming to market now, and our belief is that there’s never been a more exciting time to buy a PC,” Skaugen said.
Even though Intel is formally launching the Skylake chips today, we already know what sort of performance the chip brings, via reviews of the Core i7-6600K and Core i7-6700K. PCWorld’s Gordon Mah Ung already dove deep into the guts of the Z170 chipset, its 20 PCIe Gen 3 lanes, and the corresponding DMI 3.0. As Ung notes, the upshot is that you can run your graphics card at full bandwidth while still having a super-fast PCIe or M.2 SSD, or multiple SATA SSDs along with your your 10Gbps USB 3.1 devices, without sacrificing performance, as you would with older chipsets.
Intel’s Skylake CPU offers maybe 5 to 10 percent more performance than a Haswell CPU that runs at higher clock speeds, and it’s noticeably faster in graphics workloads as well. But if you want to, you can push it further: According to Gregory Bryant, Intel’s corporate vice president and general manager of desktop platforms, the 4.0-GHz i7-6700K is as “stable as a rock” when overclocked to 4.7 GHz.
With just performance as a selling point, it might be hard to justify an investment in Skylake. That’s why Intel surrounded the chip with a whole host of platform improvements.
WiDi and Thunderbolt and True Key, oh my!
Intel’s vision of a “wire-free PC” dates back several years. Intel’s vision is that your power cord will be replaced by a Rezence wireless charging mat, your display cable byWiDi or WiGig, and your ethernet cable by wireless networking. With Skylake, only the former is missing. Intel showed off wireless charging at its IDF conference, but the technology still needs to be built into thousands of coffee bars, desks, and even tray tables to make it successful. If it’s currently being built into Skylake-based laptops, Intel isn’t saying.
Some of these technologies you should be familiar with: Thunderbolt 3.0, the 40Gbps connector that integrates into the USB-C physical form factor and provides charging, to boot; Wireless Display (WiDi), along with the upcoming managed WiDi Pro; WiGig, similar to WiDi but for your desk; and what Intel calls Intel Unite, a simple videoconferencing application that taps into the power of Intel’s chips. Most users are also familiar with Intel’s RealSense cameras, which are being built into laptops as the foundation of Windows Hello.
Intel hasn’t made much of it, but it also has a service called True Key, which steps in for Microsoft Passport. Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport were designed to go hand-in-hand; you’d log into your PC via facial recognition, and Passport would tell other Web sites, hey this is you! So far, however, Passport has been lost at sea. True Key works similarly to Hello in that it, too, recognizes your face. But True Key is a password manager: It uses your face as a master password, then sends a complex password to up to 15 sites to log you in. It’s possibly a bit less secure and more expensive than Passport, but it’s also ready to go, right now.
Software Guard is an Intel technology designed to protect against buffer overflow attacks and other attacks on the system. Instead of trying to discover and eradicate malware, however, Software Guard isolates “islands” within the chip where known good code resides.
Skylake PCs flood IFA
Intel is showing a number of Skylake systems at IFA, from manufacturers including Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, Alienware, and MSI. All of these vendors are making their own announcements at IFA about a veritable flood of PCs coming for the holidays.
Unfortunately, the industry is giving you a mixed message: on one hand, Microsoft is saying that just about anyone can upgrade to and run Windows 10 on their existing PCs, all for free. Intel and the hardware makers, however, believe that you’re best off plonking down some additional cash for a real PC, built on Skylake. Pop quiz, consumers: What will you do?