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Tested: Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ

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Shawn Baker

Page 1: Tested: Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ

intel skylake h 3 white front 950x633The time of great leaps seems past, this was at least our conclusion to the first Skylake CPUs for the desktop. Although the Core i5-6600K and Core i7-6700K left a good impression, a clear separation from the previous generation wasn’t extremely obvious. Whether this applies also to the notebook chip remains to be seen. With the Core i7-6700HQ in hand, let’s find out what the latest mobile chip from Intel is capable of.

The comparison of Notebook CPUs isn’t quite as easy as Desktop ones. Because of other influences in the test system setup that can’t be controlled, it can be difficult to have a clear apples to apples comparison. In our case, is the fact that the built-in CPU was not yet final – according to the manufacturer, who wishes the specifics on the notebook remain unknown. With that said, we can tell you the basic framework of what we’re dealing with here today. Our notebook brings with it 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD and a larger 1TB HDD. All tests were carried out under Windows 10 as well as Intel’s graphics driver version 10.18.15.4256.

A look at the details

To date, Intel has 28 different mobile CPUs in the Skylake family, which are divided into four different classes. The Core i7-6700HQ we’re testing today belongs to the H-series and is associated with the fastest chips; leaving aside the Xeon models. In addition to the Core i7-6700HQ there are six other H models – starting with the Core i3-6100H with two cores and no Boost up to the current flagship Core i7-6920HQ with four cores and a peak clock of up to 3.8 GHz. The i7-6700HQ we’re looking at today sits towards the middle of the pack.

The key data: four cores, eight threads simultaneously executable, a base clock of 2.6 GHz with a maximum boost clock of 3.1 / 3.3 / 3.5GHz (4 / 2 / 1 Cores), 6MB L3 cache, TDP of 45 W and a line width of 14 nm. Memory support includes DDR3L, LPDDR3 and DDR4 while other features include virtualization technology VT-x and VT-d and the expanded TSX commands.

The new mobile CPUs on Skylake-H-based
Model Cores / Threads Basic clock Boost clock Max. Quad Core Turbo Graphic Solution Graphic clock DDR3L memory controller L3 cache TDP Price
Core i7-6920HQ 4/8 2.9GHz 3.8GHz 3.4GHz HD Graphics 530 350 / 1,150 MHz DDR3-1600 8 MB 45 Watt 568 US dollars
Core i7-6820HQ 4/8 2.7GHz 3.6GHz 3.2GHz HD Graphics 530 350 / 1,150 MHz DDR3-1600 8 MB 45 Watt 378 US dollars
Core i7-6820HK 4/8 2.7GHz 3.6GHz 3.2GHz HD Graphics 530 350 / 1,150 MHz DDR3-1600 8 MB 45 Watt 378 US dollars
Core i7-6700HQ 4/8 2.6GHz 3.5GHz 3.1GHz HD Graphics 530 350 / 1,150 MHz DDR3-1600 6 MB 45 Watt 378 US dollars
Core i5-6440HQ 4/4 2.6GHz 3.3GHz 3.1GHz HD Graphics 530 350/950 MHz DDR3-1600 6 MB 45 Watt 250 US dollars
Core i5-6300HQ 4/4 2.3GHz 3.0GHz 2.8GHz HD Graphics 530 350/950 MHz DDR3-1600 6 MB 45 Watt 250 US dollars
Core i3-6100H 2/4 2.7GHz 2.7GHz N / A HD Graphics 530 350/900 MHz DDR3-1600 3 MB 35 Watt 225 US dollars

As with its predecessors, an integrated graphics unit is part of the CPU. Intel has changed up the naming scheme this time around, though. The H series of chips make use of the HD Graphics 530. This is a GT2 solution and carries with it 24 execution units. We also see 192 Shader Units, Direct X 12 (Feature Level 12.1), OpenGL 4.4, OpenCL 2.0, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 and Embedded DisplayPort 1.3. Although the HD Graphics 530 is in all H-CPUs, there are difference in terms of GPU performance. There are three different configurations which differ in maximum GPU clock. The spectrum ranges from 900 MHz to 1150 MHz. The base clock is always at 350MHz. The Core i7-6700HQ we have on hand today carries the maximum clock of 1150MHz. Memory for the GT2 based chips come from your internal memory, only the GT3e and GT4e solutions have their own memory.

The Core i7-6700HQ at a glance
The Core i7-6700HQ at a glance

Since the main applications for the Core i7-6700HQ is most likely gaming and multimedia notebooks, the built in GPU solution is most likely negligible – here we generally see dedicated GPU solutions. The TDP is then almost completely taken by the CPU.

Haswell and Broadwell compared

It is worth taking a brief look at the difference form Broadwell and Haswell. The predecessor Broadwell was degenerated into a kind of stop gap solution due to numerous postponements. Skylake on the other hand is part of the “Tock” in the “Tick-Tock” principle Intel use and is manufactured at 14 nm. However, Intel has made a number of changes to the architecture to achieve higher performance per watt helping improve efficiency. A glance at the details, however, revealed the Core i7-6700HQ probably can’t compete with its direct predecessor, the Core i7-5700HQ. While some Broadwell CPUs can achieve its maximum boost clock across all cores simultaneously, this isn’t possible on Skylake. On this point, the new generation is like the Haswell chips. In figures, this means: A Core i7-5700HQ with four cores will reach up to 3.5 GHz, the i7-6700HQ on the other hand will run at 3.1 GHz to 3.5 GHz depending on the amount of cores.

Overview of Skylake CPUs with assignment of the modules
Overview of Skylake CPUs

Those who study the Skylake-H models in more detail are likely to encounter the missing MX versions. For the first time Intel has replaced this with the K-CPU. As with desktop CPUs with the same additional letter, it brings easy overclocking to the table. This will be relevant especially in gaming notebooks.

Construction of a Slices 24 EUs
Construction of 24 EUs

The integrated GPU brings with it minimal change to Broadwell – even if the new naming scheme suggest otherwise. Primarily revised are the internal structures which lead to greater flexibility, this results in a new record with expansions of up to 72 execution units; previously the maximum was 48. A somewhat larger cache and other changes lead to higher performance, support for HEVC / H.265 bring with it greater efficiency when playing videos.