Intel watchers await more details about Skylake chip

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Intel watchers have been keeping their eyes and ears open for any definitive news about its new platform Skylake. Flocking to San Francisco for the chip giant's annual IDF developer event on Tuesday, there were expectations of announcements transcending wearables. "Those expecting the full monty on how much the chips will cost, how many cores they'll have, and when you can buy a laptop with them will continue to be disappointed," said PC World.

Comments reported in Barron's noted that on Day One at a big marquee event the opening keynote barely mentioned Skylake. Mark Hachman, senior editor, PCWorld, had a similar observation on August 18. "In years past, Intel would have used its Intel Developer Forum to unveil its processor roadmap, run some benchmarks, and call it a day." But at the IDF 2015 opening, the company's Skylake processor "got as much stage time as the so-called vending machine of the future." Instead, he said, Intel emphasized the Internet of Things.

"Today is not the launch of Skylake," Intel's Julius Mandelblat told developers, vendors and engineers who had questions after his presentation about Skylake. That news, Intel officials said, won't come for another "couple of weeks."

Earlier this month, Gordon Mah Ung, executive editor, PCWorld, discussed what is known so far and what users can expect out of Skylake: this is the code name for Intel's 6th-generation CPU. Among other features, expect improved overclocking features, better integrated graphics performance and new chipset.

Some information nonetheless came out of the event, including details about support for 4K displays, in that the chips can drive three 4K monitors. (There was a demo of Skylake systems with Intel's integrated graphics driving three 4K monitors at 30fps, reported Barron's.)

PCWorld's take-home message is that Skylake-based laptops should offer a nice boost over today's Broadwell laptops. "Besides being faster and using less power than its predecessors, Skylake chips can drive multiple 4K displays, feature new instructions to speed up security operations, and even hardened memory defenses," Gordon Mah Ung said.

He added, Skylake looks as if it will be a solid improvement over Broadwell when it comes in laptops and mini NUC-style machines, but the question is when. "With various engineers throwing out 'two weeks' as a launch date, that puts it right around the start of the IFA trade show in Berlin." He was referring to the upcoming global trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances event, from September 4 to September 9, in Berlin.

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