Core i5 6600K processor review: Desktop Skylake

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The Intel IGP Architecture


The integrated HD graphics engine

The IGP inside the processor is called the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD, and is derived from existing Intel graphics products, but has some nice new improvements. The embedded graphics core is an updated model though revamped, improved and definitely more powerful with an improved video en/decoder now as well. The Intel 5000 series integrated graphics core is incorporated onto the same die as the CPU, and it also has access to Intel's automatic overclocking Turbo Boost features.

Intel HD Graphics is a series of Intel's integrated graphics processors (IGPs) introduced in 2010 that are manufactured on the same package or die as the central processing unit (CPU).

Intel Iris Graphics and Intel Iris Pro Graphics are the IGP series introduced in 2013 with some models of Haswell processors as the high-performance versions of HD Graphics. Iris Pro Graphics was the first in the series to incorporate embedded DRAM.

The Skylake line of processors is expected to retire VGA (DSUB) support. They will support up to five monitors connected via HDMI, DisplayPort or Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) interfaces. The following models of integrated GPU have been announced for Skylake processors:

  • GT1 – 12 execution units
  • GT1.5 – 18 execution units
  • GT2 – 24 execution units
  • GT3 – 48 execution units
  • GT3e – 48 execution units with 64 MB of eDRAM
  • GT4e – 72 execution units with 64 or 128 MB of eDRAM

Haswell processors have up-to 20 EUs, so the performance should be up compared to the previous generation iGPUs. For Skylake the minimum number used in the lower end SKUs are 12 EUs, running up-to 72 units for the high end GT4e model. The EUs are arranged in sets of 4 modules. The iGPU is now compatible with DirectX 11.2 and DirectX 12 feature level 11_1, OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 2.0

GenerationIGP generationGPU Model Intel HDOpenGLDirectXOpenCL
Westmere 5th Intel HD 2.1 10.1 N/A
Sandy Bridge 6th 3000 and 2000 3.1/3.3 10.1 N/A
Ivy Bridge 7th 4000 and 2500 4.0 11.0 1.2
Bay Trail Refresh of 7th gen Intel HD 4.0 11.0 1.2
Haswell 7.5th 5000, 4600, 4400 and 4200; Iris 5200 and 5100 4.3 11.1 1.2
Broadwell 8th 6000, 5600, 5500 and 5300; Iris 6200 and 6100 4.4 12 2.0
Skylake 8th 6000, 5600, 5500 and 5300; Iris 6200 and 6100 4.4 12 2.0

The Quick Sync video encoder has had a speed bump as well and according to Intel, now offers better quality. For those interested, a HEVC hardware decoding support is not embedded. Intel however has a nice workaround, as the drivers support a hybrid decoder that makes use of both the CPU and GPGPU algorithms. Ultra HD screens are supported up-to 60Hz through DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 unfortunately is not supported and thus an Ultra HDTV can't be used in 60Hz. Skylake has an interesting and capable GPU, gaming wise you can expect entry-level dedicated graphics performance but we like to see the unit more as a video processor. Very good for stuff like Blu-ray playback and it supports 3D playback thanks to HDMI 1.4a implementation, but not 2.0. It supports Intel Wireless Display (WIDI), will use the embedded DisplayPort standard to connect the GPU to the screen, and is capable of handling the task of transcoding video. 

Intel Core generationGPU Model


HD Graphics

Skylake Celeron, Pentium

HD Graphics 510 (GT1, 12 eu's)

Skylake Y-serie (Core M) HD Graphics 515 (GT1.5, 18 eu's)

Skylake U-serie

HD Graphics 520 (GT2, 24 eu's), Iris 540 (GT3, 48 eu's), Iris 550 (GT3, 48 eu's)

Skylake H-serie

HD Graphics 530 (GT2, 24 eu's), Iris Pro 580 (GT4e, 72 eu's)

Xeon Skylake H-serie

HD Graphics P530 (GT2, 24 eu's), Iris Pro P580 (GT4e, 72 eu's)

Skylake S-serie, desktop

HD Graphics 530 (GT2, 24 eu's)

You will have noticed that Intel has been renaming their IGPs, both the Core i5 6600K and Core i7 6700K make use of a 530 designated series IGP. The 6700K model is a notch faster and runs at 1150 MHz.


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