GT Answers: What Improvements Does Intel’s Skylake Boast Over Broadwell Chips?

George Tinari

Skylake is the newest microarchitecture from Intel succeeding the Broadwell microarchitecture. You might have seen new products out since 2015 boasting that the internals features the new Skylake chips. Apple, for instance, recently updated its MacBook line to include the new Skylake processors to give a bit of a performance boost over the previous generation.

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Skylake vs. Broadwell: Does it really make a huge difference? | Photo: NorGal / Shutterstock

The obvious benefits of a performance boost aside, what does Skylake really mean to you? Should you suddenly avoid buying technology still using Broadwell processors? Let’s take a look at some of the various improvements of Skylake over Broadwell and whether or not they’re worth upgrading for.

Skylake Has Much Better Graphics Performance

According to the press release directly from Intel, Skylake delivers a cool 2.5 times improvement on CPU performance, but it really shines in the graphics department. The graphics performance of Skylake is 30 times better than that of Broadwell, which means this is the chip to have if you’re big on gaming or video-editing. You can expect better frame rates and less lag.

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Skylake excels in the graphics department | Shutterstock

That means it’s also ready for the world of 4K. Even though that’s all the tech world seems to be talking about lately, many consumers are still content with 720p and 1080p content. But as the slow transition to even higher definition content (4K) pans out, Intel is ready with Skylake. In fact, Skylake promises to be able to power three 4K monitors at 60Hz all at once.

Skylake is More Power Efficient

While it boasts better CPU and graphics performance, Skylake is also saving you some battery life. Intel says it’s been able to triple battery life in devices running Skylake compared to five-year-old devices. That sounds astounding, but when several other factors come into the picture, that’s not really what it translates to in real world use.

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Skylake delivers better battery life | Shutterstock

In the aforementioned MacBook update, for example, Apple was able to squeeze in an extra hour of battery life. That’s likely in part due to Skylake’s improved power efficiency, but don’t expect huge strides over devices from only a year or two ago.

Note: Skylake is also specifically optimized for Windows 10 devices since Intel designed and developed the microarchitecture with Windows 10 in mind, so gains in power improvements and elsewhere should be especially apparent on Windows machines. (That doesn’t mean it won’t work well with Macs too, though.)

Overall Gains are Modest at Best

The key to a lot of the performance gains Intel talks about is the fact that the company has been comparing Skylake to machines of five years ago. Clearly, technology has come a very far way since then. But Skylake isn’t a gigantic leap forward from the Broadwell chips of yesteryear.

That said, it’s perfectly okay to buy a machine with Broadwell. The device will still run perfectly well even if you don’t get those minor bumps to graphics performance and power efficiency. However, if you’re upgrading from a machine that is several years old, perhaps making the full jump to the latest and greatest tech is worth considering.

ALSO READ:GT Explains: What are CPU Caches and are They Really Necessary

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George Tinari

Written By

George Tinari

George Tinari has written about technology for over seven years: guides, how-tos, news, reviews and more. He's usually sitting in front of his laptop, eating, listening to music or singing along loudly to said music. You can also follow him on Twitter @gtinari if you need more complaints and sarcasm in your timeline.