The first of Intel’s Skylake processors are here, and while these quad-core desktop CPUs will be of limited interest to anyone who doesn’t care about overclocking, examining them and their chipsets gives us some idea of what we can expect from the rest of the Skylake family.
Intel’s announcement did include one more tidbit that we didn’t look at in our early review—the company says that it plans to release an unlocked, overclockable K-series Skylake CPU for laptops. All K-series CPUs from all other architectures have been desktop-only chips up until now.
Overclocking laptop CPUs and GPUs has never been supported as widely as overclocking desktop CPUs and GPUs, for what should be obvious reasons. People who are really serious about overclocking use big fancy custom air coolers or some kind of liquid cooling to keep their chips from overheating, and getting a high-but-stable overclock requires careful tuning and stress testing. Laptops are more thermally constrained and not really built for custom aftermarket cooling, so how well your chip overclocks will depend at least in part on how good the OEM’s cooling solution is.
We don’t know anything else about this K-series laptop CPU yet—we’d assume that it would be a high-end quad-core chip like the desktop versions, but a dual-core K-series chip could make sense if Intel wanted to keep clock speeds high while keeping temperatures (relatively) low. We’ll find more out about the Skylake family at Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco later this month.