Yesterday marked the launch of Intel’s new flagship processor, the Intel Core i7-6700K. For those of us with sense and a smaller credit limit you can pick up the Intel Core i5-6600K which was also unveiled.

Reading through the release specifications on WCCF Tech your eyes will widen and your jaw will drop, but is Skylake’s enthusiast chip what we’ve been waiting for? If you’ve upgraded your PC in the last 3 years the chances are good that the answer will be no.

While the Skylake family is based on a newer, thinner and more refined 14nm fabrication process, the results are nothing more than a mild improvement on the previous generation of Broadwell and even Haswell processors.

Why on earth would I utter such blasphemy against Intel? Quite simply, the cost for the relative improvement.

How much has Intel improved year on year? Not much to be honest
How much has Intel improved year on year? Not much to be honest

Unlike Broadwell and Haswell which used a LGA1150 socket, the Skylake family will run on the all new LGA1151 socket. If you recently upgraded your system to an X99 motherboard with a LGA2011 socket, your board and processor have no power here. You will also need to upgrade your old DDR3 RAM for faster DDR4 RAM and while you’re at it you may as well look at getting a PCI-e SSD.

The good news is that Skylake will be compatible with DDR4 RAM and PCI-e SSD modules. This is good news for the X99 builders looking to update their machines but terrible news for people who will now have to rebuild from scratch.

When you scratch away at the paint and start comparing Skylake to its predecessors the result starts looking a little something like this.

All the flagship Core i7 processors side by side.
All the flagship Core i7 processors side by side.

So what increase are you really getting? From that table it looks like you’re not getting what you’re paying, and that is not even taking a gander¬†at the DDR4 RAM, the Z170 Chipset, DirectX 12 and possible improvements to GCN 1.2. My advice comes in two parts.

Wait and don’t wait.

If you’re one of the pre-Sandy Bridge stalwarts and upgrading your entire system is something you’ve had in mind for a while, then yes, exercise the usual caution of reading reviews and the like before upgrading. If however, you’ve been using Haswell or Broadwell let’s face the facts, the cost of upgrading your entire system is going to be astronomical.

Ultimately the decision rests with you but the wise choice is to wait, especially since Intel alluded to the fact that Kaby Lake will launch sometime next year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to convince myself not to upgrade just yet.

[Image РAnandtech / WCCF Tech]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.