Intel next-next-gen “Skylake” processors
Intel demos next-next-gen “Skylake” processors, coming in late 2015
Intel’s Broadwell CPU architecture has only just started rolling out, and most of the processors that use it aren’t even supposed to launch until early next year. The new 14nm manufacturing process is causing the delay, but yesterday at the Intel Developer Forum the company tried to demonstrate that Broadwell’s lateness wouldn’t affect the rest of its roadmap.
To that end, Intel highlighted a couple of working developer systems based on the new “Skylake” architecture, as summarized here by Anandtech. The company didn’t go into specific performance or power consumption numbers (both because it’s early and because Intel probably doesn’t want to take the wind out of Broadwell’s sails), but it showed working silicon rendering 3D games and playing back 4K video to prove that the chips are working. The first Skylake processors are reportedly due out late in 2015 following the beginning of volume production in the second half of the year.
Here are the basic facts we already know about Skylake: it’s a “tock” on Intel’s roadmap, meaning it introduces a new architecture on a manufacturing process that’s already up and running. In this case, that’s Intel’s 14nm process, which Intel insists has recovered from its early problems. Some of the CPUs in Intel’s lineup—specifically mid-to-low-end socketed desktop CPUs—will get their next refresh using Skylake instead of Broadwell. Whether this is because Intel wants to reserve 14nm manufacturing capacity for lower-power, higher-margin chips or because it just doesn’t think the power-consumption-obsessed Broadwell is a good fit for regular desktops is anyone’s guess.