Nearly a decade ago, Intel established a master plan for designing and launching new CPUs. Dubbed “Tick-Tock,” this method laid out a new cadence; new CPU architecture followed by die/fabrication shrinks with the process then repeating itself. The cadence allows Intel to test new fabrication technologies with a proven architecture (Tick,) and then introduce new architecture on a proven fabrication process (Tock).
This year has been interesting, however. Today we’re announcing the immediate availability of the new 6th generation Intel® Core™ processor technology (Core i7 6700K), code-named Skylake, on our popular APEXX 2 platform (dubbed the Model 2402), as well as the all-new APEXX 1 Model 1401. The older APEXX 2 Model 2401 was based on 4th generation Intel Core technology code-named “Haswell.” The Core i7 4790K was actually a refresh of the original, high-end, Haswell technology-based Core i7 4770K and was intended to be the leading desktop processor for professional grade quad-core systems. The 5th generation Intel Core technology that soon followed (code-named “Broadwell”) was a die shrink, or Tick, moving from 22nm to 14nm, but was not a product we offered, as it also focused more on bringing a higher level of integrated 3D horsepower to consumer systems and did not deliver any incremental top-end performance to professional users.
So, for those of you keeping score, BOXX has moved from a Tock to a Tock, skipping the Tick in between. Of course, this is an interesting bit of information for us hardware junkies, but it also explains why we never offered the 5th generation Intel Core technology—it just didn’t make sense for our professional customers. Skylake, on the other hand, does provide our customers with the necessary architectural changes that deliver higher performance, so it bears explaining what those changes are and how they impact you. First, you’ll notice that the clock speeds are different on the Skylake-based Core i7 6700K vs. the Haswell-based 4790K. While they both share a base clock of 4GHz, the older 4790K can hit Turbo Boost speeds of 4.4GHz, while the new Skylake-based Core i7 6700K tops out at 4.2GHz. This does not mean that the 6700K is slower than the 4790K. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. At stock speeds and with specific benchmarks, the 6700K can actually be up to 10% faster than the 4790K. This is made possible by its architectural enhancements. Remember though, this is a “Tock” product, so we can expect performance gains even if there aren’t corresponding clock frequency increases. And while the APEXX 2 Model 2402 and APEXX 1 Model 1401 are actually overclocked to 4.4GHz, they’re at least 5% faster than the older 4.5GHz Model 2401. But architectural enhancements aren’t the only advantages to the new Skylake processor platform. As we’ve written about before, the new Intel Z170 chipset, in combination with this new processor, features tight support for PCI-Express SSD hard drives in M.2 and traditional PCI-E expansion card formats. And lastly, there’s support for DDR4 memory. While this technology doesn’t bring any earth-shattering performance increases, it does support higher frequencies and, of more immediate importance, higher densities, allowing the APEXX 2 Model 2402 to support twice the memory density of its predecessor (up to 64GB).
So, we’re proud to introduce Intel Skylake processor technology to the APEXX 2 family, as we know our customers have been anxiously awaiting it. If you have questions regarding Skylake or any of our BOXX products, please complete the form below and one of our performance specialists will contact you to discuss your workflow needs.