Skylake “sixth generation” core processors
In our Intel Corporation’s (INTC) 2Q15 earnings series, we talked about how Intel stated that it has qualified its sixth generation core product, Skylake, for production. More recently, on September 1, 2015, Intel officially launched Skylake, its sixth generation core processor built with a 14 nm (nanometer) manufacturing process.
Currently, the smallest transistors used in chips are 14 nm. In July 2015, IBM (IBM), in collaboration with Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) and GlobalFoundries, unveiled the world’s smallest computer chip.
In early August 2015, Intel launched two Skylake chips—its i5-6600K and Core i7-6700K desktop processors—for gaming devices.
Skylake is the “tock” in Intel’s “tick-tock” strategy
Intel follows what is called a tick-tock strategy. In a “tick” launch, micro-architecture is changed. To put this into perspective, when Intel moved toward 14-nm technology (from 22-nm), this move was a tick. Both Broadwell and Skylake chips involve a 14-nm process, but Broadwell was the “tick” in the company’s tick-tock launch strategy.
Skylake is the “tock” meant to follow the Broadwell “tick.” In this way, Intel will have a new CPU-GPU architecture that will enable enhanced performance and energy efficiency, as the above graph shows.
Noteably, Intel claims that its Skylake mobile chips are up to 60% faster than mobile Haswell chips, which were launched in January 2014. At the same time, Skylake chips consume 60% less power and outweigh Haswell chips by 40% in graphics.
Intel’s Skylake improved features
As the company claimed it would, Intel’s Skylake provides a 10% to 20% better CPU (central processing unit) performance and a 50% better 3D gaming performance. The ninth generation GPUs (graphics processing units) present in Skylake claim to provide 50% better 3D gaming performance.
Skylake also boasts HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Encoding) features, which improve playback of 4K (4,000 pixels) cameras well as streaming of Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) Direct X12 programing.
To gain exposure to Intel, you can consider investing in the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH). Intel makes up about 19% of SMH.
In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss other features that Intel’s Skylake has to offer.