Skylake thoughts

All about them.

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QUIET!
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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:22 am

I just got my i7-6700k and hopefully I'll be able to get to post and in to bios. I'll fool around with the fan control in my Gigabyte motherboard and let you know what it will do.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:07 pm

Nods. Here's a screenshot from the Techpowerup review of the Z170 Deluxe.
Image
Mostly 20% minimums based on their test setup.

Abula
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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by Abula » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:23 pm

Pretty impressive to see fanXpert alike on the bios.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by xan_user » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:31 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Looks like Asus added all of the Fan Xpert functionality into the BIOS, including fan speed calibration. :shock: That, plus letting you select the time it takes for a fan to ramp up/down is pretty darn cool.
that sounds awesome.
someday I would love to see some programmable setpoints in bios too.... a handful of setable temp/rpm correlations, but with no ramping of rpms between them, just hard stepping

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:39 am

Hard stepping sounds nice in theory, but in practice I think it would be annoying, especially without any hysteresis. It *might* work for something slow moving, like case temps that utilize a mobo sensor rather than the CPU. But a CPU fan would be ping ponging between the two setpoints. That fan delta would be awesomely irritating. :)

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:54 am

KitGuru says about Asrock:
And what is particularly impressive is the board’s ability to completely shut-off a controlled fan below a user-defined temperature threshold.
Within UEFI. Was this available in the '97 series or a new '170 feature? Either way, pretty cool.

MSI's UEFI fan control looks the same as before. Don't know if the minimums have changed.

Gigabyte, suprisingly, still hasn't updated their archaic UEFI fan control.

So, my early recommendations based on UEFI fan control are Asus and Asrock, then MSI, then Gigabyte in the distant last.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by edh » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:21 am

Non-K CPUs have been officially released today. No great surprises from what I have seen but haven't seen them in stock anywhere to see actual prices and availability. Also H and B chipsets are launching too.

CA_Steve
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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:28 am

I read somewhere that the non-K parts will only have southeast Asia availability (I read this as OEM builds) Sept 1 and rest of world at end of September.

Anandtech has a decent article up. Only the H170 and Z170 (...and Q170) gives access to Intel RST via PCIe.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by fjf » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:54 am

There is now a thunderbolt mobo, but unfortunately is gigabyte:

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/produc ... id=5479#ov

However, with no GT4e iGPU CPUs available, the usefulness of the HDMI 2.0 to 4K monitors seems dubious. Likely lacks fan controls. You cannot have it all!!

QUIET!
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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:18 am

As far as I know, all Gigabyte Z170 motherboards have the Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt/USB3.1 chip. For watching 4k videos and general computing, the Skylake iGPU is probably enough.

I think we are pretty close to having monitor connections and iGPUs that are good enough for anything short of gaming.

If the next generation of Thunderbolt can do 8 lanes or double the speed of the four lanes, you could put a GPU in the monitor and then use something like a NUC for 4k gaming. If you didn't want a GPU in the monitor, iGPUs by that time should be able to drive 2 or 3 4k monitors.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by edh » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:33 pm

QUIET! wrote:If the next generation of Thunderbolt can do 8 lanes or double the speed of the four lanes, you could put a GPU in the monitor
Not sure that's a good thing. Monitors tend to be big flat things. Putting a graphics card in it isn't going to help with the physical design, power usage or noise levels from a monitor. Plus a monitor tends to have a far longer useful life in a gaming computer than a graphics card, so are you going to have to bin a whole monitor just because the graphics card is too slow? What about power design? Having to have all of that 12V available separately in the monitor and the computer will be worse for power efficiency. And moving all of those textures through a 'slow' interface like USB 3.1 versus 16x PCI-E?
Last edited by edh on Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

QUIET!
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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:34 pm

I was thinking along the lines of plugging a NUC in to a monitor.

Thunderbolt2 is not USB3.1, it just uses a similar cable. It is the equivalent of a 4 lane PCIe 3.0 link. I'm guessing the next generation will double that bandwidth.

By the time that happens (probably 3-4 years), I'm sure we will have some very nice "mobile" GPUs in 10-14nm that can probably do 4k gaming at reasonable frame rates and 30-50 watts power.

When that type of performance/power ratio is possible I think the form factors are going to get turned on their head except for the displays that are going to get huge. If that happens, it makes sense to move the heat producing components from the computer to the monitor.

We are getting pretty close. Moore's law is not that far off our current pace so when we are within an order of magnitude, we are close.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:13 pm

So, you want to put the component I replace the most often (gfx card) inside the component I replace the least often (monitor). I guess this is great for the chinese electronics recycling business :)

I had been hoping that eventually there'd be readily available external gfx card boxes using Thunderbolt to connect to your laptop. The idea being you'd have a nice silent CPU/iGP laptop and then plug in the external gfx for home gaming. Asus, MSI and others kept previewing them at shows but never introduced them. Alienware did come out with one for their laptops using a proprietary connection and 16 PCIe lanes. Downside is you'd have to by a compatible Alienware laptop and shell out $300 for just the box.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:22 am

I think it would be just great if the computer industry was headed for things like NUCs with discrete GPUs but I just don't think its happening. With Intel trying to phase out socket CPUs, I think ATX form factor is nearly on the way out. I think the future will look a big different.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:08 am

Skylake discrete gfx bug...and upcoming BIOS fix.

edh
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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by edh » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:05 am

A funny thing that I can't work out is that the non-K CPUs are not released in many markets yet the H, B and Q chipsets are available worldwide. Why would you want to buy an unlocked K CPU and put it in a motherboard that allows no overclocking at all? That makes no sense.

In terms of my decisions, I'm waiting on the non-K CPUs to arrive, possibly the i5-6400 and waiting to see what the options are going to be for Mini-ITX. There aren't a huge number of Mini-ITX Socket 1151 motherboards at present but the tempting one I've seen so far is the ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming-ITX/ac, despite it's silly name.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:04 pm

edh wrote:A funny thing that I can't work out is that the non-K CPUs are not released in many markets yet the H, B and Q chipsets are available worldwide. Why would you want to buy an unlocked K CPU and put it in a motherboard that allows no overclocking at all? That makes no sense.
Turn this around the other way. The mfgrs were allowed to start selling their mobos - why would they wait for Intel to get around to selling the rest of the parts worldwide before they start advertising and stocking the channel? It's not about us :D

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:29 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Skylake discrete gfx bug...and upcoming BIOS fix.
If that is the worst an early adopter has to face, there was no reason to wait.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by xan_user » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:40 pm

QUIET! wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:Skylake discrete gfx bug...and upcoming BIOS fix.
If that is the worst an early adopter has to face, there was no reason to wait.
only time will tell if that is really the case.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:05 pm

<shrugs> If you like to be a beta tester, buy now. If you just want the stuff to work, wait a few months. Not enough systems in the wild for weird stuff to show up, yet.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:16 pm

I might be a little closer to the situation due to my job.

This isn't the old days when semiconductor companies would release buggy parts and try to sort it out after a few revs.

Engineers sort things by risk. A lot of the time old circuits are re-used in a chip because the engineers do not have the resources to reduce the risk of a change.

For Skylake:

14nm: not really a risk as Broadwell used that process.

DDR4 memory: not really a risk as Z99 uses DDR4.

New iGPU: it does not seem like too big of a departure from what Intel has done in the past, risk probably low.

Move HEVC off the package and on to the motherboard: going back to the old way, minimal risk.

Tweaks to increase IPC and decrease power: a well understood process with existing products to experiment on, many solutions will be proposed, only the ones with acceptable risk will make the release.

A new chipset: Higher speed links add risk but Z170 probably doesn't have much in it that Intel hasn't put in other products. Medium risk at worst.

Risks that are out of Intel's control:

Motherboard makers screwing up their implementation of the chipset, the BIOS or failing to produce as many motherboards as Intel can produce CPUs.

DDR4 vendors might not be able to ramp production to meet the new Skylake demand.

Of all those risks, none make me think that Intel would have a hard time executing on Skylake. Their track record on "tock"s is very good and the "tick" it was jumping from was Broadwell which did not seem too buggy in the first place (mobile versions at least).

I think the AMD ZEN CPU is a much much higher level of risk for that company. They are doing a lot of things differently or for the first time. I also wonder if they will get the chipset right.

I hope AMD nails it because competition improves the breed but I will take a wait and see attitude, especially since I have a brand new PC.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:34 pm

Three things:
- I am quite familiar with the semiconductor industry.
- Sandy Bridge and the messed up SATA controller wasn't that long ago. Intel isn't perfect. That said;
- When I talk about waiting a few months, it isn't just pointing a finger at Intel. There's a lot of components on a motherboard and lots of drivers as well as the BIOS. Walk through just the BIOS updates for any CPU release and you'll see a LOT of updates in the first few months and then they slow down considerably. So, I stand by my general comment: buy now if you like to do lots of bios and driver updates and potential buggy behavior doesn't bother you. Buy in another couple of months if you don't want to deal with that.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by edh » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:32 am

Over the weekend I've spotted the first i5-6400 and i5-6500 processors being advertised in the UK. Prices and availability still aren't great, to give some idea the 6400 is only coming in at 25% less than a 6600K. Would think this might change in time as a 25% price difference does seem a bit tight for Intel to fit the i5-6600 and i5 6500 in between.

Haven't seen any Skylake Core i3's around yet but there has been some interesting coverage (no review though):
http://techreport.com/news/28957/the-sk ... est-friend

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by pod03 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:38 am

The following tool might be of use to some people - e.g. it is possible to sort by idle energy consumption

http://uk.hardware.info/comparisontable ... 143-317163

The above is a selection that I have made from Z170 motherboards they have tested with low idle power.

Mark

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by QUIET! » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:32 pm

More thoughts:

I initially wanted a MSI Z170A Krait Gaming motherboard but I could not find one in stock and went for the Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7 which I got at a discount.

There hasn't been much info about the Krait gaming board but I'm curious and was looking for reviews to see what I missed.

That motherboard has the SATA cable connectors in a really awkward position.

If you use a 90 degree connector, it aims the cable toward the PCI slots. If you use straight cables, they are aimed up right through where a long GPU might be installed.

Any way I feel like I dodged a bullet. I'm sure the board is usable but the SATA layout on the Gigabyte is much more conventional and works well for me.

I'm also happy about the extra SATA controller Gigabyte added on. There are three SATA express ports on the board which are Z170 native and two regular SATA ports run by an add in controller. The SATA express ports evidently share PCIe lanes with the M.2 slots so if I do a raid with two NVMe M.2 drives, I still have one SATA express port (also usable as two regular SATA ports) and another two regular SATA that I can use for an ODD or an extra HDD.

I'm sure the Z170 native SATA ports are better than the add on but I have lots more options than a board with one M.2 and one SATA express like the Krait.

The moral of the story: some times you get what you pay for and some times a nice looking budget board generates more headaches than savings.

I have to say that my choice for a budget Skylake motherboard would now solidly be the Asus Z170A. If you need the Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt chip, then the Gigabyte Ultra Durable line is the place to look. The Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7 is still a good deal with lots of features that the lower cost boards miss (but fan control is not so great).

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by fjf » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:19 am

Asus is coming to the thunderbolt party!:

https://benchlife.info/asus-z170-premiu ... -09182015/

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:32 am

Early parts don't have SGX enabled. Parts shipped after Oct 26 will. Have to read the S-spec number on the box or cpu to see if it's post or pre-fix.

https://techreport.com/news/29146/intel ... gx-enabled

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by edh » Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:19 pm

SGX doesn't look too interesting for home users really. Don't think I would lose sleep about not having it.

I have seen more i5's out for sale in a number of places and there are some i3's available in a tiny handful of places in the UK. Prices are pretty varied and availability is patchy but I'm guessing this will sort itself out in the coming weeks. Think I'll sit it out until November.

The motherboard market looks to be pretty complete now as you can get any number of implementations from different manufacturers for different chipsets and form factors. SPCR's review of Asus suggests they still are on top for fan control.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:07 pm

SGX: Hard to say if it will affect home users or not. Sort of depends if apps start implementing the feature set down the road. It would be kind of a pisser to find out your banking app won't work on your PC 3 years from now :) Haven't seen any i3's over here, yet. Have seen only one Asus H170 mobo review, so far. Can't tell if they implemented the extensive set of bios fan controls seen in the Z170 mobos.

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Re: Skylake thoughts

Post by fjf » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:11 am

QUIET! wrote:I was thinking along the lines of plugging a NUC in to a monitor.

Thunderbolt2 is not USB3.1, it just uses a similar cable. It is the equivalent of a 4 lane PCIe 3.0 link. I'm guessing the next generation will double that bandwidth.

By the time that happens (probably 3-4 years), I'm sure we will have some very nice "mobile" GPUs in 10-14nm that can probably do 4k gaming at reasonable frame rates and 30-50 watts power.

When that type of performance/power ratio is possible I think the form factors are going to get turned on their head except for the displays that are going to get huge. If that happens, it makes sense to move the heat producing components from the computer to the monitor.

We are getting pretty close. Moore's law is not that far off our current pace so when we are within an order of magnitude, we are close.
Its happening soon: http://www.tweaktown.com/news/48016/int ... index.html

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