Best Skylake Cpu for Gaming – When it comes to using the latest Skylake chips for gaming, we tested both the integrated graphics and how it performs purely as a CPU partnered with a high-end graphics card. We used the Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 for the latter, which is a card that’s fast enough to ensure it isn’t the bottleneck in our higher-end games tests.
Skylake is the last Intel platform on which Windows earlier than Windows 10 will be officially supported by Microsoft, although enthusiast-created modifications exist that allow Windows 8.1 and earlier to continue to receive Windows Updates on later platforms.
ROUND UPback to menu ↑
1.Intel Core i7-9700K
Announced in late 2018, the Core i7-9700K replaces the Core i7-8700K in Intel’s desktop CPU lineup. The Core i7-9700K has a base clock frequency of 3.6GHz, 100MHz slower than that of its predecessor, though its maximum boost clock speed of 4.9GHz is 200MHz higher.
Once the most significant predictor of a CPU’s performance, clock speed is no longer as important as it once was thanks to the advent of multicore chips and modern software that can run separate instruction threads on each core. Still, we expect to see slight clock adjustments from generation to generation, and there can even be reductions (as is the case with the base speed here) if the new chip uses a more efficient architecture.back to menu ↑
2.Intel Core i7-6700
The Intel Core i7-6700 is a high-end quad-core desktop processor based on the Skylake architecture, which was announced in August 2015.
The CPU, which is manufactured in a 14 nm process, runs at 3.4 up to 4.0 GHz (2 cores: 3.9 GHz, 4 cores: 3.7 GHz) and can execute up to 8 threads simultaneously thanks to Hyperthreading. Contrary to the Core i7-6700K, the i7-6700 does not have a free multiplier and can hardly be overclocked.back to menu ↑
3.Intel Core i7-10700K
That results in a surprisingly close competition for gaming supremacy between the Core i7-10700K and the Core i9-10900K.
The Intel Core i7-10700K also comes with a 3.8-GHz base clock that, paired with its 16 threads, improves its standing against price-comparable Ryzen processors in threaded desktop PC applications, while the snappy single-threaded performance gives it an outright win in lightly-threaded apps.
The Core i7-10700K also proves to be a nimble overclocker that doesn’t generate an untenable amount of excess heat, so off-the-shelf water coolers can unlock big gains.back to menu ↑
It has a base clock speed of 4GHz and can go up to 4.2GHz, which isn’t much of a jump though overclocking the processor can get you anywhere from 4.7GHz to 5GHz with stability. The 6700K comes with Intel HD530 graphics card, which is just as capable as the newer HD630 card if not better than it so not much difference there.
Where the Core i7 7700K does differ is in its design optimization and power consumption, but only slightly. As for performance indexes, the difference is too small to even consider. Hence, if you plan on purchasing a Core i7 7700K then you can read this review as these two processors are practically the same with just minor optimization and improvements. Besides, both CPUs use the LGA 1151 socket.back to menu ↑
5.Intel Core i5-6400
The Core i5-6400 sits squarely in the middle of Intel’s mainstream desktop processor range. Packing the latest Skylake architecture and 14nm manufacturing process as the company’s flagship Core i7 6700K it has everything you need to make a powerful and power-frugal PC.
It will be a touch slower but then that’s reflected in its far more palatable £140 price.back to menu ↑
6.Intel Core i5-11400F
That ‘F’ suffix in the Core i5 11400F denotes a lack of iGPU in the processor package, which is no bad thing for a budget gaming CPU, and normally means a cheaper chip. Times are strange, however, and the Core i5 11400 is exactly the same CPU but with those integrated GPU cores enabled. It should be more expensive, but is actually available for a lot less right now.
Performance should be practically the same between the two so you can almost pick which of those two versions of the 11400 silicon is cheapest and be happy with your choice. Because the Core i5 11400/F is a great budget gaming CPUback to menu ↑
7.Intel Core i5-7500
Alright, so there are the unlocked processors of Intel and then those that are meant for newcomers and normal folks. The 7500 CPU is a no-frills simple to use a processor that does not support overclocking (though you can overclock this a bit, which we will discuss later).
This CPU operates at a base frequency of 3.4GHz but boosts up to 3.8GHz when the need arises. Naturally, being a Core i5 it has a total of 4 physical cores and 4-threads with zero hyper threading. The L3 cache is 6MB and it eats around 65W on average which is a good reduction in the power ratings seen with the i5 7600K.back to menu ↑
8.Intel Core i5-9600K
Intel’s ninth-gen Core i7 and Core i9 processors come with more cores, too. Unfortunately, the Core i5-9600K we’re reviewing today does not. It includes the same six cores as its predecessor, along with a price tag that lands between Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700. Worse, both competing CPUs are bundled with coolers, while Intel makes you buy your own.
The story isn’t all bad for Intel. It did switch to a solder-based thermal interface material between its die and heat spreader, enabling higher multi-core Turbo Boost frequencies. But those incremental improvements are hardly earth-shattering.back to menu ↑
9.Intel Core i3-9100F
One of the nice things about the Intel Core i3-9100F processors is that the retail boxed models come with a CPU cooler. So, you can pick something like the Intel Core i3-9100F up for and don’t need to spend any extra money on CPU cooling.
The Intel Core i3-9100F retail boxed processor comes with the traditional ‘pancake’ CPU cooler. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done on this processor which is rated at 65W TDP. You do not need to have an aftermarket cooling solution unless you want to.back to menu ↑
10.Intel Core i9-10900
There’s also an in-box cooler for those who want to economize on their build and add aftermarket CPU cooling later.
The “Comet Lake” microarchitecture on which the i9-10900 is based is possibly the final implementation of the “Skylake” core design Intel has been monetizing since 2016, using the same 14 nanometer silicon fabrication process. Facing severe competition from AMD and its Ryzen family of processors, Intel has for the past three Core generations stepped up core/thread counts across the board.
This is because AMD began catching up on IPC, which meant the only way Intel could compete is by increasing core counts and clock speeds. Compared to the previous generation, which offered 8-core/16-thread processors as “i9”, the 10th Gen Core i9 now has 10 cores and 20 threads.back to menu ↑
Best Skylake Cpu for Gaming – BUYER’S GUIDE
Like its predecessor, Broadwell, Skylake is available in five variants, identified by the suffixes “S” (SKL-S), “X” (SKL-X), “H” (SKL-H), “U” (SKL-U), and “Y” (SKL-Y). SKL-S and SKL-X contain overclockable “K” and “X” variants with unlocked multipliers. The H, U and Y variants are manufactured in ball grid array (BGA) packaging, while the S and X variants are manufactured in land grid array (LGA) packaging using a new socket, LGA 1151 (LGA 2066 for Skylake X). Skylake is used in conjunction with Intel 100 Series chipsets, also known as Sunrise Point.
The major changes between the Haswell and Skylake architectures include the removal of the fully integrated voltage regulator (FIVR) introduced with Haswell. On the variants that will use a discrete Platform Controller Hub (PCH), Direct Media Interface (DMI) 2.0 is replaced by DMI 3.0, which allows speeds of up to 8 GT/s.
Skylake’s U and Y variants support one DIMM slot per channel, while H and S variants support two DIMM slots per channel. Skylake’s launch and sales lifespan occur at the same time as the ongoing SDRAM market transition, with DDR3 SDRAM memory gradually being replaced by DDR4 memory. Rather than working exclusively with DDR4, the Skylake microarchitecture remains backward compatible by interoperating with both types of memory. Accompanying the microarchitecture’s support for both memory standards, a new SO-DIMM type capable of carrying either DDR3 or DDR4 memory chips, called UniDIMM, was also announced.
Skylake’s few P variants have a reduced on-die graphics unit (12 execution units enabled instead of 24 execution units) over their direct counterparts; see the table below. In contrast, with Ivy Bridge CPUs the P suffix was used for CPUs with completely disabled on-die video chipset.
Other enhancements include Thunderbolt 3.0, SATA Express, Iris Pro graphics with Direct3D feature level 12_1 with up to 128 MB of L4 eDRAM cache on certain SKUs. The Skylake line of processors retires VGA support, while supporting up to five monitors connected via HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) interfaces. HDMI 2.0 (4K@60 Hz) is only supported on motherboards equipped with Intel’s Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller.
The Skylake instruction set changes include Intel MPX (Memory Protection Extensions) and Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions). Future Xeon variants will also have Advanced Vector Extensions 3.2 (“AVX-512F”).
Skylake-based laptops were predicted to use wireless technology called Rezence for charging, and other wireless technologies for communication with peripherals. Many major PC vendors agreed to use this technology in Skylake-based laptops; however, no laptops were released with the technology as of 2019.
The integrated GPU of Skylake’s S variant supports on Windows DirectX 12 Feature Level 12_1, OpenGL 4.6 with latest Windows 10 driver update (OpenGL 4.5 on Linux) and OpenCL 3.0 standards, as well as some modern hardware video encoding/decoding formats such as VP9 (GPU accelerated decode only), VP8 and HEVC (hardware accelerated 8-bit encode/decode and GPU accelerated 10-bit decode).
Intel also released unlocked (capable of overclocking) mobile Skylake CPUs.
Unlike previous generations, Skylake-based Xeon E3 no longer works with a desktop chipset that supports the same socket, and requires either the C232 or the C236 chipset to operate.back to menu ↑
Frequently Asked Questionsback to menu ↑
Which CPU is Right for You?
While this list covers my opinions on what the best CPUs for gaming are, it’s inevitable that others will disagree with me. And, that’s fine!
I based this list off of what I believed were the best options in terms of overall performance and value. And, because I mainly looked at price-to-performance, I left some CPUs completely off of the list.
Ultimately, though, if you’re in the market for a new gaming computer and you are planning on buying a new system, or if you are just looking for an upgrade for your current system, and if you have questions about choosing a processor, please post them below.back to menu ↑
Best Skylake Cpu for Gaming – And, in order to build a solid gaming computer in 2021 and beyond, you’re going to need a quality CPU. While some games (like first-person shooters) are heavily dependent on your graphics card, other games (like RTS’ and MMORPGs) have many more calculations that need to be carried out and therefore utilize your processor more. This should factor into your decision when looking for the best gaming CPU for your build.