Skylake: from the “unexpected”

After numerous delays Broadwell, the start of production of the sixth generation of the Core architecture is expected not before the second half of 2016. But in August 2015, Intel announced the beginning of production table options Skylake in September. According to unconfirmed reports, the Core architecture came to light thanks to the efforts of the Department of Intel in Haifa, Israel. There was also developed processors, Banias, Dothan (which was used in Apple TV 1G), Conroe, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge. An impressive list of achievements “provincial” overseas Department.

In this Department, Intel technical supervisors worked for several years johnny Srouji, in 2015, the most secret, senior Vice President of Apple but the “new technologies”. The head of all that is connected with microelectronics.

Office in Haifa – the organization is known and respected. On the development of architecture Skylake this organization took four years. Rethinking everything you can and finding a lot of innovative solutions, the developers have once again confirmed the authority of Intel.

It turned out interesting. It was something to brag about.

A new architecture announced in September 2014, IDF – when her predecessor Broadwell was preparing for publication. The transition from 22 nm to 14 nm was much harder than expected for Intel, hence the delays and broken promises. By the time of the completion Skylake 14 nm technology was established and developed, and in the third quarter of 2015 produced the first runs of Skylake.

Samsung with this technology too was not easy, but they did not complain.

“On schedule,” said Intel. Promised to start production in the second quarter of 2015, it (15 August, this is actually the third quarter) and started. But still it was too fast and unexpected, for someone not particularly pleasant.

Before the end of 2015, Skylake processors appeared in Macs. But I tell you it didn’t say anything.

At the Heavenly lake, swimming

Skylake is processors for normal computers and for servers with a TDP ((Thermal Design Power, “a measure of the withdrawal of some thermal capacity should be designed cooling system, for example, CPU”) from 4.5 to 45 Watts processors for mobile computers, and 91 Watt – for desktop. And almost up to 300 Watts of processors for servers.

In the coming years, “fruit” consumers of server processors are not expected have happened. Therefore, we will discuss the (superficially) only processors for desktops and laptops.

Produced five classes Skylake, in the order from the “weak” to the “powerful”: SKL-Y, SKL-U, SKL-H, SKL and SKL-SKL S. is the official abbreviation for Skylake. I’m sure you guessed, but someone could not understand.

The processor SKL-Y was no longer “just Core M”. Now they were called m3 Core Core Core m5 and m7. By an adult. Modification processor was marked in a somewhat unusual way, I will explain on examples. Core m7, for example, 6Y75. Attention to the number after “Y”. Core m5 – 6Y54 or 6Y57. Core m3 – 6Y30. But Y-processors (according to Intel, which allowed to reduce the thickness of the laptops even twice) in 2015 was not used in Macs.

And their production in the industrial circulation began later. The first of the gates of the factories Intel has released copies of processors S-class, i7-6700K and i5-6600К. It began on 15 August 2015.

In processors with index “K” and “X” after the numeric index officially allowed to disperse clock frequency, and was given every opportunity. Overclocking any other CPU Intel Skylake is strictly prohibited, and fought hard with this phenomenon. At first, a tricky tricks Intel craftsmen successfully parried, but the forces were unequal, and Intel, in the end, defeated in this fight.

By mid-September 2015 was launched mass production of all SKL-S.

Now nothing prevented Apple to release a 27-inch iMac’and waiting for the new 4-core processors from January 2015. Apple had a special relationship with Intel, they were the best of friend-enemies, so Apple has warned about the release of Skylake in advance, a trial batch provided in advance to the most pedantic in the world connoisseurs of beauty could Excel in what does not refusing, in conditions close to combat.


I wonder how many of the innovations in Skylake counted would be Phil Schiller, a disciple of Steve jobs? Intel have no prestidigitation owning this focus is not found.

Innovations were many, will focus only on some of them.

In the description of the Intel HD Graphics ninth generation (gen 9), we are still not going to go deep. The first Skylake Macs on integrated graphics is not used. We will note only that she’s gorgeous, and that 4-numerical designation of the models, the GPU was replaced by 3-digit. VGA integrated graphics from Intel is no longer supported.

But supported “up to 5 displays with 4K resolution”. So, though with some reservations – but on the chart some other time.

Skylake, officially, did not support DDR3. But no special measures against those who wish to, no matter what, for some important reasons, to use these memory chips, they worked without problems. No warranty – not a ban.

Officially supported DDR3L and DDR4. Thanks to Skylake, DDR4 become mainstream.

Support DMI-3 (with capacity 8 Gigatransfer per second, the DMI-2 did not exceed 5 GT/s). Native support for Thunderbolt 3 (Alpine Ridge), PCIe 3.0, etc..

Expanded instruction set, and many, many more. Compared with Broadwell, increased productivity by 7-10%. Not too impressive increase, but what is.

But there are fantastic innovations: options for Skylake for laptops supported Rezence wireless technology developed by the Alliance A4WP (The Alliance For Wireless Power the Alliance for wireless power transmission).

The transfer of energy for charging laptops through the air and even through obstacles, and just the interaction with the periphery. Magic!

The Alliance was formed in 2012. If he was alive Steve, this fruitful idea, he would not have missed it – Apple would be in the forefront, and since Steve talented engineers with an adventurous mind dreamed of working in the company and was ready on everything if only the task was impossible and ambitious. And that was exactly the case. But alas.

Technology Speed Shift, which debuted in Skylake, very similar to fast and furious in military aviation: in the short time limits of the engine thrust, it is dangerous but can save the crew life.

Since the processors have learned how to reduce its own clock frequency in response to adverse conditions, the control clock frequency was transmitted very smart and cautious in a complex processor system, the program operating the system.

And like all smart entities, operating systems play safe, not allowing the CPU to play even when you perform very important tasks.

Speed Shift, for a short time (in the example on the slide, Intel is 35 MS), the OS returns control of the CPU frequency. The processor takes the risk, is laid out on a high, his performance in the important tasks is increased to the maximum.

Speed Shift (from presentation at Intel Developer Forum 2014):

After a preset time, the afterburner is automatically switched off, the processor returns control to the operating system, and that returns the CPU in safe mode. And the sheep are fed and the wolves are safe.

Speed Shift is activated by a special processor commands. In Windows 10, the patch for this came in November 2015. About the reaction of Apple on this call we’ll talk the next time.

To be continued

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