Each month, the new LGA1151 platform and Skylake generation processors are gradually strengthening their market positions, replacing the familiar, but obsolete systems based on Haswell processors. However, such a replacement is clearly slower than the original Intel plan. This is due in part to the fact that the upgrade of the system with the transition from Haswell to Skylake is associated with the need to replace not only the processor but also the motherboard with memory, which not all users are ready to go, especially considering the not very significant advantages of the new processors. But there is another reason: the industrial problems that Intel faced when implementing the 14-nm process, continue to pursue the company, and as a result, it can not fully meet the demand for Skylake – in the short supply, there are some or other modifications.
Surprisingly, even the quad-core Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K officially announced in early August still can not boast of ubiquitous availability. They are constantly disappearing from the sale, and the supply problems are of a global nature and affect even the largest trading platforms like Amazon or Newegg. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that it was necessary to wait longer than the intended one for the appearance of cheaper Skylake on the shelves. Officially, dual-core and low-end quad-core processors of this generation were announced in early September. But really on sale, they appeared about a month and a half later. Nevertheless, today, to buy a dual-core Skylake, unlike the older Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, is not difficult – different modifications of the newest Core i3 and Pentium, produced by the 14-nm process technology, are presented in stores.
And this is good news for numerous consumers who want to build a new system, avoiding serious financial waste. Flagship overclockers Skylake processors are very expensive, and therefore they can not be recommended for mass systems. Dual-core same Skylake is much more democratic in its price and can serve as an excellent choice for a medium-sized personal computer.
Of particular interest are the updated processors of the Core i3 family, which thanks to the Hyper-Threading technology are quite successful with quad-core processors and not very far behind in performance from Core i5. While getting acquainted with the Core i3 generation of Haswell, we noted that the gap in the performance of dual-core processors with Hyper-Threading and full-fledged quad-core processors is not too great even in those applications that are strongly tied to multithreading. And modern representatives of the Core i3 family have become even better – they are transferred to a new microarchitecture with higher specific performance and received increased clock speeds.
In other words, we could not bypass the new Core i3, built on the basis of Skylake cores, we could not. As soon as they appeared on a wide scale, we decided to test them to determine how well such processors could be suitable for modern systems used in typical user scenarios. Along with Core i3, the dual-core Pentium generation Skylake took part in this test. Unlike Core i3, this is a more budgetary solution, but formally Pentium is also a dual core, that’s why it fits into the company with other heroes of today’s review quite naturally.
⇡ # Dual-core Skylake: what are they?
According to Intel’s nomenclature for the desktop family Core i3 are processors with two cores, enhanced technology Hyper-Threading, and to the Pentium family – dual-core without it. At the same time, representatives of both families do not have the support for automatic overclocking of Turbo Boost available in older CPUs, and the size of the cache memory of the third level is 3 or 4 MB. These were Core i3 and Pentium generations Haswell, they also remained the same, when moving to the next generation of microarchitecture. However, this does not mean that the new Core i3 and Pentium in their characteristics completely repeat their predecessors. Even if we do not take into account the fact that Skylake micro architecture provides higher specific productivity, the performance of new products is improved with the help of several more improvements.
First, the dual-core Skylake received a higher clock speed. While the maximum frequency of Haswell’s dual-core reached 3.8 GHz, the older processor in the updated Core i3 line runs at 100 MHz faster – at 3.9 GHz. Secondly, we should not forget that the new Core i3 and Pentium are absolutely high-grade solutions for the LGA1151 platform. That is, unlike their predecessors, they support not only DDR3L SDRAM, but also faster two-channel DDR4 memory, and to interface with the set of system logic use the DMI 3.0 bus with the increased bandwidth to 3.93 GB / s. This means that the dual-core Skylake, like their quad-core counterparts, fit seamlessly into modern platforms based on the hundredth series logic chipsets, which differ in support for accelerated external buses and interfaces. And thirdly, in the updated family of Pentium processors, the support for the AES-NI instruction set finally multiplies the speed of cryptographic operations. True, in Pentium, the support of AVX instruction sets has remained unplugged at that.
In addition, we should note other improvements that have no direct impact on performance but nevertheless are still important. For example, in the dual core Core i3 and Pentium generation Skylake processors, VT-d I / O virtualization has appeared, and the maximum amount of memory that a controller can integrate into the processor has increased to 64 GB.
Traditionally, there is only one disappointment in the new dual-core processors – they can not be overclocked. Despite the fact that Intel in the LGA1151 platform formally removed restrictions on changing the frequency of the base clock generator, the Core i3 and Pentium can not change this frequency anyway: if it deviates more than 2-3% from the nominal value, the system becomes completely inoperative. There are no dual-core models and unlocked multipliers. The experiment, which was conducted with the Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition, did not spread to the processors of the Skylake generation. As a result, there are no inexpensive overclocking solutions for the LGA1151 platform. Moreover, the new Core i3 and Pentium have even a multiplier blocked, which is responsible for the frequency of the built-in graphics core so you can not overclock it either.
The line of desktop dual-core processors Skylake in LGA1151-performance includes to date ten modifications. If we exclude from this number energy-efficient processors with reduced power consumption (which belong to the T series), then in the list of topical novelties there will remain six models whose formal characteristics we summarized in the following table.
|Core i3-6320||2/4||3.9 GHz||None||4 MB||HD Graphics 530||1.05 GHz||51 W||$ 157|
|Core i3-6300||2/4||3.8 GHz||None||4 MB||HD Graphics 530||1.05 GHz||51 W||$ 147|
|Core i3-6100||2/4||3.7 GHz||None||3 MB||HD Graphics 530||1.05 GHz||51 W||$ 117|
|Pentium G4520||2/2||3.6 GHz||None||3 MB||HD Graphics 530||1.05 GHz||51 W||$ 93|
|Pentium G4500||2/2||3.5 GHz||None||3 MB||HD Graphics 530||1.05 GHz||51 W||$ 82|
|Pentium G4400||2/2||3.4 GHz||None||3 MB||HD Graphics 510||1.05 GHz||51 W||$ 64|
In addition to the already described features of dual-core processors generation, Skylake should note two more features of new products. First, in comparison with their predecessors, they tend to have a small decrease in the calculated heat release. And this is quite a natural change, which happened due to the movement of the LGA1151 platform of the power stabilizer from the processor to the motherboard. By the way, in the quad-core CPUs, the frames of the heat package have decreased much more convincingly than in dual-core processors so the real heat and energy appetites of the new products can be noticeably better (than ed., 19459019) than promised in their specifications.
In addition, dual-core Skylake received a new graphics core, belonging to the ninth generation of Intel graphics. And almost all Core i3 and Pentium are now equipped with HD Graphics 530 graphics, which refers to the level of GT2, while among the desktop dual-core Haswell, the full GT2 core was installed only in the older processors of the Core i3 series. This means that the graphics capabilities of dual-core processors for the LGA1151 platform have become much better. As a result of the introduction of a new generation of graphics architecture and the ubiquitous use of the GT2 core option, all new Core i3 and most Pentiums can boast an arsenal of 23-24 graphic executive devices that operate at frequencies up to 1.05 GHz. The graphic core GT1 with 12 executive devices can now be found only in the younger Pentium G4400.
But small differences between the graphics of older dual-core processors Core i3-6320 and i3-6300 and cheaper processors still remain. The fact is that only these two models have a complete set of 24 actuators. In the remaining Core i3 and Pentium, one of the graphic executive devices is turned off at the hardware level, which allows Intel to achieve a better yield of usable crystals
Dual-core processors of the Skylake generation have quite usual appearance – they look exactly the same as their counterparts of the Core i5 and Core i7 series. However, here, too, has its own nuances. Among the dual-core processors are found as CPUs, which are based on a four-core semiconductor crystal with disconnected (inoperative) two cores, and CPUs based on a simpler crystal with two cores. It is not so difficult to distinguish these varieties – they have different SMD components on the back side, and the processors with a quad-core crystal have more of them.
However, this knowledge does not give any practical benefit. In real work these CPUs are identical and their different essence is not manifested in any way.
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Review Core i3-6320, i3-6100, and Pentium G4500
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