Intel announces Skylake processor lineup with new Core M subfamilies, speed & graphics boosts

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited October 2015
After months of waiting, Intel on Tuesday officially revealed a bulk of its 6th generation Core processor lineup, with special attention paid to laptops, offering a look at what Apple will likely use in forthcoming MacBook updates.




Built on Intel's Skylake microarchitecture using a 14-nanometer fabrication process, the chips announced today promise graphics and raw computing enhancements with unparalleled power efficiency.

Intel is revising its dual-core Core M (Y-series) naming convention with Skylake, breaking the category down into subfamilies dubbed Core m3, m5 and m7. Four chips are being offered: a 900MHz Core m3, two 1.1GHz Core m5 versions differentiated by Intel vPro and Intel TXT support, and a 1.2GHz Core m7 option. Each CPU sports Turbo Boost technology, 4MB of L3 cache and Intel HD Graphics 515. A Pentium version is also lumped in with the low-power mobile processor line, but lacks Turbo Boost and carries only 2MB of L3 cache.

The rebranded Y-series silicon is designed for use in low-power installations and should be bound for Apple's next-gen 12-inch MacBook with Retina display. Clocked at the same base frequency as current Retina MacBook models, Intel says Skylake can extend battery life to ten hours in normal use cases and boost graphics performance by some 40 percent. For example, the Core m3, m5 and m7 boast top graphics chip clock speeds of 850MHz, 900MHz, and 1.0GHz, respectively.

Moving to the U-series Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs, Skylake is bringing steady increases to base clockspeeds, but again with high efficiency architecture and better graphics processing capabilities. This year Intel is pairing either Intel HD 520 or Intel Iris 540 integrated graphics with its Core i5 and i7 processors. Apple uses Core i5 and i7 U-series SKUs in its MacBook Air lineup, with comparable Skylake parts clocked at 1.8GHz for the i5 and 2.2GHz for the i7. Intel claims the new U-series chips are ten times faster than their predecessors and come with a 34 percent increase in graphics performance thanks to clock speeds above 1.0GHz.

Finally, Intel's H-series Core i5 and i7 models get modest speed gains with Skylake. On the low end is a 2.3GHz Core i5 version, while Core i7 speeds come in at 2.6GHz, 2.7GHz and 2.9GHz. Other mainstream chipsets were announced, including Intel's first Xeon laptop offering. A full list of SKUs can be found on Intel's website (PDF download).

It's not clear when Apple intends to refresh its various MacBook lineups, but Intel's production capacity is in question as Skylake has been slow to market. Apple most recently introduced the 12-inch Retina MacBook and added updated internals and Force Touch trackpads to its 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines in March. The 15-inch MacBook Pro received a similar refresh in May.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    Not mentioned here:

    Intel currently has no LPDDR4 nor DDR4L controller for Skylake, so Apple will either have to stick with the DDR3 variants of those or use regular DDR4, which does pull less voltage than LPDDR3.

    I would also not be surprised to see Apple select Iris equipped processors for the MBA.
  • Reply 2 of 69
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    I note that all the Skylake-H processors are rated at 45W -- no more 35W parts. This may increase Apple's desire to finally drop the last vestige of discrete GPUs from the MacBook Pro line.
  • Reply 3 of 69
    We have been waiting a while for Apple to produce 2 sets of products. First there is the iPad Pro. Could this be an iPad written for OS X that uses sky lake processors? Second there is the Apple TV update that is not a hobby. Gaming on one of these processors could actually be enjoyable. An A9 processor, plus Metal plus a huge library of software from iOS. I am not sure what is coming, but I suspect there are going to be some disappointed Apple Bears in 7 days. The market seems to be agreeing.
  • Reply 4 of 69
    The article states that U series CPU are 10 times faster than predecessor. Is this correct or should it read percent?
  • Reply 5 of 69
    lundkeman wrote: »
    The article states that U series CPU are 10 times faster than predecessor. Is this correct or should it read percent?

    Percent. There hasn't been a serious boost in IPC since Sandy Bridge in 2011.
  • Reply 6 of 69
    It's not clear when Apple intends to refresh its various MacBook lineups, but Intel's production capacity is in question as Skylake has been slow to market. Apple most recently introduced the <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/04/21/review-apples-all-new-12-macbook-with-retina-display">12-inch Retina MacBook</a> and added updated internals and Force Touch trackpads to its 13-inch MacBook Pro and <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/03/09/macbook-air-updated-with-broadwell-cpus-thunderbolt-2-connectors-faster-flash">MacBook Air</a> lines in March. The 15-inch MacBook Pro received a similar refresh <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/05/19/apple-launches-new-15-inch-macbook-pro-with-force-touch-trackpad">in May</a>.

    It's clear to me... Sept 9th. ;)
  • Reply 7 of 69
    We have been waiting a while for Apple to produce 2 sets of products.

    We? Is that an imperial "we"?
    First there is the iPad Pro. Could this be an iPad written for OS X that uses sky lake processors?

    When pigs fly.
    Second there is the Apple TV update that is not a hobby. Gaming on one of these processors could actually be enjoyable. An A9 processor, plus Metal plus a huge library of software from iOS. I am not sure what is coming, but I suspect there are going to be some disappointed Apple Bears in 7 days. The market seems to be agreeing.

    This will happen on the 9th of September along with a bunch of other enterprise related announcements. The whole show will wrap up with a tired old band coming out on stage and playing some grade C music and giving away songs no one wants.
  • Reply 8 of 69
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,535member

    I'm just salivating at the 8-core CPU.  I hope Apple put's that as a high-end option for the iMac.  I'd put them all to good use!  Hopefully this means I finally get to retire my 2009 iMac!

  • Reply 9 of 69
    mcarling wrote: »
    I note that all the Skylake-H processors are rated at 45W -- no more 35W parts. This may increase Apple's desire to finally drop the last vestige of discrete GPUs from the MacBook Pro line.

    Like hell they will. The iGPU on the Skylake are absolute garbage. Does anyone follow how pitiful their resulting benchmarks have been?

    If you want to see Macbook Pro sales go into the crapper stop shipping a discrete OpenCL 2.x certified GPGPU.

    If you'll notice on AMD's website the R9 370X Mobile is already listed for the Mac. What they need to announce is the R9 Mobile 390/390X variants this September 9th, in conjunction with AMD.

    Personally, I'd love for Apple to start opening up their platform in 2016 to use the upcoming Zen. That APU designed by former Apple A series creator, Keller, who also is famous for the DEC Alpha, the AMD Athlon and more, is finally going to be the first big return hit for AMD on the CPU front in nearly ten years.

    The Zen APU will have DDR4 and HBM2 Arctic Island successor to Fiji. Apple most certainly is already testing this stuff internally.
  • Reply 10 of 69
    sflocal wrote: »
    I'm just salivating at the 8-core CPU.  I hope Apple put's that as a high-end option for the iMac.  I'd put them all to good use!  Hopefully this means I finally get to retire my 2009 iMac!

    You'll be lucky to see the Core i5-6500 at the highend for either the Macbook Pro or the iMac 5k, and the Core i5-6400T for the Macbook/Mac mini.
  • Reply 11 of 69
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post





    We? Is that an imperial "we"?

    When pigs fly.

    This will happen on the 9th of September along with a bunch of other enterprise related announcements. The whole show will wrap up with a tired old band coming out on stage and playing some grade C music and giving away songs no one wants.

     

    If Depeche Mode comes on stage, I'm all in for a tired old band ;-).

  • Reply 12 of 69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    I'm just salivating at the 8-core CPU.  I hope Apple put's that as a high-end option for the iMac.  I'd put them all to good use!  Hopefully this means I finally get to retire my 2009 iMac!


    I'm only seeing 4 core CPUs, which one has 8 cores?

  • Reply 13 of 69
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macnewsjunkie View Post



    We have been waiting a while for Apple to produce 2 sets of products. First there is the iPad Pro. Could this be an iPad written for OS X that uses sky lake processors?

    No. There have been no interface changes in OS X that would support a touch interface. Those would require enormous foundational changes, which would have been shown at WWDC. If you paid attention, there was a session where the presenter actually said there's an iPad Pro coming... and it was an iOS talk.

  • Reply 14 of 69
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post





    You'll be lucky to see the Core i5-6500 at the highend for either the Macbook Pro or the iMac 5k, and the Core i5-6400T for the Macbook/Mac mini.



    Not quite sure, but are you really arguing that there won't be an i7 for either the iMacs or the MBPs?

  • Reply 15 of 69
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,276member
    Could someone explain to me what's so great with the Xeon lineup? After seeing benchmarks pitting the MacPro against iMac's and MacBook Pro's with results only sometimes in favour of the Xeon beast pro I just don't get it.
    Am I missing something? Or does it require Xeon specific optimisation to fully make it shine, which no one seem to care about/ have the skill to do, because the install base is too small to care?
    Should we get excited about a Xeon laptop offering?
  • Reply 16 of 69
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 type-C (verersible) and HDMI 2?
  • Reply 17 of 69
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,213moderator
    mcarling wrote: »
    I note that all the Skylake-H processors are rated at 45W -- no more 35W parts. This may increase Apple's desire to finally drop the last vestige of discrete GPUs from the MacBook Pro line.

    I don't understand why they aren't listed with Iris Pro graphics:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i7-6820HQ-Notebook-Processor.149416.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-530.148358.0.html

    The HD 530 GPU on the desktop isn't very good. They shouldn't have a 45W TDP with such slow graphics. Intel said 11% faster CPU, 16% faster graphics vs the previous generation for the H-series:

    1000

    I don't think anybody used the previous generation of the quad-i7 though. Apple's been using the same architecture for the past three 15" MBP models. Broadwell-H were these chips listed with Iris Pro:

    1000

    If it is 16% faster than Broadwell and Broadwell is ~30% faster than Haswell according to notebookcheck:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Pro-Graphics-5200.90965.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Pro-Graphics-6200.125593.0.html

    then you'd be looking at 50% faster than the Iris Pro 5200 in the current models. According to Anandtech, there are a few GPU options:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9582/intel-skylake-mobile-desktop-launch-architecture-analysis/6

    The HD 530 (24 EUs) and Iris Pro 580 (72 EUs) are both options for H-series. If Apple went with the 530 then they'd have to supplement it with a dedicated GPU in every model. If they went with the 580 and it's only 50% above the 5200, they could drop dedicated GPUs in all models but it would likely fall short of the R9 M370x, which already falls short of NVidia's options for real-time performance, although they use a bit more power. OpenCL performance is a different consideration, Intel's chips would be ok for that purpose.
    palegolas wrote:
    Could someone explain to me what's so great with the Xeon lineup? After seeing benchmarks pitting the MacPro against iMac's and MacBook Pro's with results only sometimes in favour of the Xeon beast pro I just don't get it.
    Am I missing something? Or does it require Xeon specific optimisation to fully make it shine, which no one seem to care about/ have the skill to do, because the install base is too small to care?
    Should we get excited about a Xeon laptop offering?

    You can get 64GB DDR4 ECC memory on a laptop with the Xeon. Xeons also scale up to more cores. At the quad-core level with typical RAM usage, there's no real-world advantage to using a Xeon. I'd be surprised if Apple used it in their laptops.
  • Reply 18 of 69
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    I'd love to see Apple go AMD in the Mini, maybe even some other platforms. GPU performance is really important for today's operating systems and as such AMD's APUs are still a big advantage if RAW CPU performance isn't important to a buyer. If one is buying a Mini I'd have to say CPU isn't that important to begin with.
    Like hell they will. The iGPU on the Skylake are absolute garbage. Does anyone follow how pitiful their resulting benchmarks have been?

    If you want to see Macbook Pro sales go into the crapper stop shipping a discrete OpenCL 2.x certified GPGPU.
    The interesting thing here is that Intels GPUs often perform very well in OpenCL tasks. It is application specific but shouldn't be ignored.
    If you'll notice on AMD's website the R9 370X Mobile is already listed for the Mac. What they need to announce is the R9 Mobile 390/390X variants this September 9th, in conjunction with AMD.
    That would be nice but let's face it Apple often switches between AMD and NVidia every couple of years often for no rational reason. As such AMD could lay the golden egg and Apple might ignore it, I'm often surprised by Apples approach to discreet GPUs.
    Personally, I'd love for Apple to start opening up their platform in 2016 to use the upcoming Zen. That APU designed by former Apple A series creator, Keller, who also is famous for the DEC Alpha, the AMD Athlon and more, is finally going to be the first big return hit for AMD on the CPU front in nearly ten years.
    Well we can hope! Just because an engineer is capable doesn't mean the resources and politics of the company will support his efforts.
    The Zen APU will have DDR4 and HBM2 Arctic Island successor to Fiji. Apple most certainly is already testing this stuff internally.

    Let's hope so.
  • Reply 19 of 69
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    palegolas wrote: »
    Could someone explain to me what's so great with the Xeon lineup? After seeing benchmarks pitting the MacPro against iMac's and MacBook Pro's
    with results only sometimes in favour of the Xeon beast pro I just don't get it.
    Benchmarks can be very misleading so you really need to reference which ones you are talking about. Given that Xeon is about multi core performance with apps and workloads optimized for such hardware. Given the right user the Mac Pro will run circles around anything else in Apples line up.
    Am I missing something?
    Yes! I can't tell you what exactly but obviously you don't understand how many highly threaded apps work nor how multitasking operating systems can support advanced professionals.
    Or does it require Xeon specific optimisation to fully make it shine, which no one seem to care about/ have the skill to do, because the install base is too small to care?
    Should we get excited about a Xeon laptop offering?
    Yes you should get excited. Just don't expect Apple to deliver one.
  • Reply 20 of 69
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,634member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post



    Could someone explain to me what's so great with the Xeon lineup? After seeing benchmarks pitting the MacPro against iMac's and MacBook Pro's with results only sometimes in favour of the Xeon beast pro I just don't get it.

    Am I missing something? Or does it require Xeon specific optimisation to fully make it shine, which no one seem to care about/ have the skill to do, because the install base is too small to care?

    Should we get excited about a Xeon laptop offering?

    If you don't see the need, you probably don't have the need for a Mac Pro.

     

    Here's a site for rendering tests using Benchwell for Maxwell Render:

     

    http://www.maxwellrender.com/benchwellV2

     

    Xeon's dominate the benchmarks; lots of threads, lots of memory. A Mac Pro with Thunderbolt 3 and USB TYPE C will be very future proof for those that can use it, and it my case, will replace some Lenovo D20's which are a few generations behind current.

     

    I would be excited by a Xeon laptop to run some of my MCAD software, but I doubt that it would appeal the the general public. Apple does need to add some Pro graphics cards (Quadro's, and FirePro's) to support particular apps well.

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