The Skylake Primer: What You Need to Know About Intel's 6th Generation Core Processors


Intel’s 6th Generation Core processors and platform, known to most of the enthusiast community as “Skylake,” are en route. These new processors bring about a new microarchitecture and are manufactured on Intel’s cutting edge 14nm process, but they also need new chipsets and new memory. We’re ready over here at Corsair, but are you?

The 6th Generation Core Memory Controller

These new processors support both DDR4 and DDR3L natively, but there are caveats. While you’re likely to see motherboards come out that support both standards, DDR3L development has been deprecated. Most vendors are focusing on DDR4, which lets the new processors stretch their legs.

Our existing 4-up DDR4 kits should run on the new platform without issue; they may actually even run a little better for the overclockers in the house, since these processors run on a dual-channel memory controller instead of the quad-channel one found in the Core i7-5960X and related chips. That said, the XMP 2.0 profiles for those kits were designed for Haswell-E and may necessitate having timings entered into BIOS manually.

Existing 4-up Vengeance LPX kits should have no trouble running on the new platform.

Users who want to bring their existing performance DDR3 to Skylake are going to have a much tougher time, though. Because the new memory controller only supports DDR3L at 1.35V and 1.5V (XMS) speeds, the 1.65V required to get DDR3 to hit high speeds rules them out. Some vendors are working on making their DDR3L-based Intel 100 Series boards compatible with existing 1.5V DDR3 kits, but expect these to be in the minority.

Finally, only the new K-suffix chips will support DDR4 speeds beyond 2133 MHz. In order to run memory at higher than 2133 MHz on DDR4 or 1600 MHz on DDR3L, you’ll need to have a K-suffix chip and a motherboard with a Z170 chipset.

What does all of this mean for you? Ultimately, if you want to jump to the new platform, it’s going to necessitate a new processor, new motherboard, and new memory.

LGA 1151: Keeping Cooler Compatibility

Intel’s new chips may necessitate a new socket, but they’ve done right by the enthusiast community by sticking with the same mounting system as their previous mainstream platforms. That means that any cooler that was compatible with LGA 1150, LGA 1155, or LGA 1156 will be compatible with the new LGA 1151.

The shiny new Hydro Series H110i GTX mounts to the new processors using exactly the same hardware it needed on the old ones.

Users with existing Hydro Series coolers have nothing to worry about; all of our coolers retain their compatibility with the new socket. So if you’re planning on upgrading, you can keep your cooler.

Haswell-Ready Power Supplies and Sleep States

Way back when the Intel Core i7-4770K and its kin first launched, there was some concern over power supply compatibility. Specifically, these processors added additional low power sleep states that could cause trouble with some power supplies. The new processors inherit these sleep states and the complications therein.

Our new RMi series power supplies are just the ticket for delivering clean, stable power to the new chips while supporting all of their features.

The overwhelming majority of our power supplies support these sleep states without issue. However, users with our entry-level CX (600W and below) and VS series power supplies will need to disable them in BIOS.


Intel’s new platform brings some big changes to the market. A faster architecture is always appreciated, but with the 6th Generation Core processors and 100 Series chipsets, they’re bringing a new memory standard into the mainstream in DDR4. We’ve already been playing with the new platform internally and we’re very optimistic about it: it’s fast, stable, and powerful, and the new memory controller brings healthy overclocking headroom. Performance users will be pleased, and we’ll be sharing more information soon, so stay tuned.


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  • Louis Cook's gravatar Louis Cook said:
    12/6/2017 4:51 AM

    I am the biggest fan of Corsair. I am using Corsair Vengeance DDR4 8GB RAM. I am happy to using Corsair products. I had face a simple issue and Corsair replace the product. Recently bought Corsair Graphite Series 760T... Thank you Louis

  • Kaushal Malkan's gravatar Kaushal Malkan said:
    11/12/2017 4:53 PM

    Ikr? Corsair has the best RAM I believe. Using their products since 4 years now, still no issues.

  • Amit The Review Xprt's gravatar Amit The Review Xprt said:
    10/9/2017 11:35 PM

    I am also using the Corsair RAM and it is working very good. Corsair products are really very amazing.

  • Steve's gravatar Steve said:
    10/9/2017 2:55 AM

    Currently, I'm using Corsair RAM and very happy with it. Corsair products are awesome as always.

  • Shubham Sharma's gravatar Shubham Sharma said:
    10/8/2017 9:17 AM

    Great job as usual. Every time I read these I seem to end up carrying out another hardware upgrade! Thanks for the awesome post and keep the inspiration coming!

  • Shubham Sharma's gravatar Shubham Sharma said:
    10/8/2017 9:16 AM

    Great job as usual. Every time I read these I seem to end up carrying out another hardware upgrade! Thanks for the awesome post and keep the inspiration coming!

  • Giovanni Zappavigna's gravatar Giovanni Zappavigna said:
    7/21/2017 11:40 AM

    Very nice article. I'm always excited to read these kinds of article. PC hardware is always upgrading and I'm too poor to follow.

  • Steve Wilson's gravatar Steve Wilson said:
    6/21/2017 1:41 AM

    Great job as usual. Every time I read these I seem to end up carrying out another hardware upgrade! Thanks for the awesome post and keep the inspiration coming!

  • Ben Johnson's gravatar Ben Johnson said:
    5/25/2017 9:33 PM

    Thanks for your amazing post! I guess It's time to upgrade my beast Keep up your great work, Dustin.

  • Geeky's gravatar Geeky said:
    5/11/2017 2:50 PM

    Always exciting to see the next generation coming through, Glad to see Intel get their new kabylake out there while some healthy competition from AMD looms to keep them on their toes with the Ryzen! Looking forward!

  • thecomputerfinder's gravatar thecomputerfinder said:
    4/26/2017 12:57 AM

    Also can't wait Kaby Lake and AMD's Ryzen! Nice article btw!

  • Esport Source's gravatar Esport Source said:
    4/4/2017 3:54 AM

    I agree with s Dolan, things are not a lot more interesting with the Kaby lake generation and new Ryzen CPUs. Granted Ryzen hasn't lived up to the hype but it is still a massive improvement on previous iterations. This all being great for the industry in general.

  • Eric Montana's gravatar Eric Montana said:
    1/27/2017 1:32 PM

    This article is what I have been looking for. I have a gaming PC that I want to upgrade considering that I built it three years ago.

  • S Dolan's gravatar S Dolan said:
    1/4/2017 3:02 PM

    Things will get even more interesting with the release of Kaby Lake and AMD's Ryzen! We might actually get to choose a CPU rather than only having one option.

  • Rocky Mark's gravatar Rocky Mark said:
    11/30/2016 1:38 AM

    First of all I want to thank for this amazing post. I have a Gaming PC. I need to change my PSU. So this post should be helpful for me. I am using Thermaltake Smart Series 600W SLI. But now need to change my mind

  • Paul Musatow's gravatar Paul Musatow said:
    5/14/2016 3:17 AM

    I want to Thank CORSAIR for their Great Web Sites !!! I use all Corsair Stuff except for My Memory. Don't get me wrong ? I LOVE Corsair Memory, but I got a Deal for some 32Gbs. of DDR-4 G.Skill "V" that I couldn't pass-up !!! Thank You for your GUIDES, I use then all the Time.

  • Hamdan's gravatar Hamdan said:
    7/28/2015 1:46 PM

    Really enjoy reading these blogs. They're both fun and useful. Keep them coming, Dustin. :)

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