Intel’s Skylake CPU will be bringing in a new chipset, and thanks to a leaked roadmap we now know what will be following Intel’s 900-series. Currently, Intel are calling the newest chipset the 100-series – at least in early internal developmental documents that have somehow found their way into the hands of VR-Zone.
For those who have knowledge of Intel’s 900-series chipset, this newest arrival in Intel’s family should seem fairly familiar. The 100 series will consist of a single PCH silicone and there’ll be different variants by simply ‘toggling’ features (in other words, enabling or disabling them for the higher or lower end parts).
It’s looking like we’ll be seeing Intel’s Skylake (which is the Broadwell successor) in four distinct packages, falling into two basic flavors. The first is SLK-S which will be the standard LGA socket, allowing you to remove the chip and replace it with a different model (for example how you’d remove say the 4670L and put in a 4770K if you’ve got a Haswell). Then there’s three variants of BGA, the first is the the SLK-U ultra-low power BGA (targeted at Ultrabooks). Next up is the SLK-Y mainstream BGA (for small form factor or ready made PC’s… no CPU upgrades here) and SLK-H (Another BGA – made for regular Notebooks).
Intel’s Skylake will use the 14nm process and be using the DDR4 memory technology to increase the bandwidth available to the CPU. This will likely be even more important since the integrated GPU of these machines struggles when relying on DDR3 memory bandwidth, something owners of AMD’s APU’s have found out first hand. This is due to of course the CPU and GPU ‘sharing’ the bandwidth of DDR3.
Thunderbolt will be making a return, only an upgraded and improved performance version enabled by a “Apline Ridge” controller. For those who’re interested in the usage of wireless connectivity, Intel have you covered. There’ll be the “Snowfield Peak” which will be both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Next up we’ve got “Douglas Peak” WiGig and Bluetooth, “Pine Peak” WiGig, XMM726x 4G LTE controllers, and/or “Jacksonville” GbE wired Ethernet controllers depending on the processor in question.
But before you get the hammer and raid your piggy-bank we don’t have an exact release date as yet. Despite the slides offering a tantalizing 2015 date, it could still mean any point within that year. Indeed there could still be a delay or worse still, Skylake could see a late Q4 release, meaning it’ll possibly not be readily available to customers until early 2016.
Of course for those of you who’re hoping to simply plop a Skylake CPU into their existing Haswell (or Broadwell) based rig, you’ll likely be out of luck as it’s looking like we’ll be having an entirely new socket (it is Intel after all). Then again, likely we’ll be seeing DDR4 and other technologies be the standard by this point, therefore it’s likely your memory won’t be any use anyway.
Of course if you happen to already have a Sandy, Ivy or Haswell (or a good AMD rig) it’s a bit difficult to recommend jumping abroad the Broadwell train. For gamer’s in particular right now is a bit of a dicey time in the PC hardware market. Just remember that if you’re a PC gamer, or plan to change around the parts of your machine (or sell bits later on) you’ll likely want to stick with the LGA socket for Skylake so that you’ll be able to change parts to your hearts content (but your wallets dismay!).