Game On: Intel Gifts PC Enthusiasts With First Skylake CPUs

Intel on Wednesday took the wraps off its first CPUs as part of its long-awaited sixth-generation 14nm Skylake microarchitecture platform -- revealing two high-end processors aimed at PC enthusiasts and gamers.

At Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Intel unveiled two quad-core desktop processors, the Intel Core i7-6700K and the less expensive Core i5-6600K, which it says will improve the performance of a 3-year-old PC by up to 30 percent.

The first release bodes well for boutique PC makers that build systems targeting PC enthusiasts and gamers, including Maingear, a Kenilworth, N.J.-based boutique computer manufacturer specializing in high-performance gaming computers.

[Related: System Builders Pumped Up Over Skylake's Leaked Performance Enhancements]

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Wallace Santos, CEO of Maingear, said the launch of the processors would bring a boost in customers who held off on upgrading from their 32nm Sandy Bridge platform. Already, he said, Maingear has sold "a bunch" of systems, and is expecting to sell more throughout the day Wednesday.

"This is a huge launch for gamers, especially because these processors overclock really well," said Santos. "Ever since Sandy Bridge, Intel hasn't really had a lot of headroom in its newer-generation processors. A lot of customers who held off after Sandy Bridge are pulling the trigger today."

The processors are available for purchase starting Wednesday, according to Intel, Santa Clara, Calif. The Core i7-6700K is priced at $350, while the Core i5-6600K is priced at $243.

The high-end, quad-core Core i7-6700K is clocked at 4GHz, while the Core i5-6600K is clocked at 3.5 GHz. Both processors tout new DDR4 support for mainstream gaming systems, as well as full-range Base Clock tuning granularity and new levels of Memory Overclocking with finer grain tuning.

The Skylake launch comes with a new Z170 chipset and LGA1151 CPU socket, so customers will also need a new PC or motherboard along with the brand-new processors. The launch, coupled with the release of Microsoft's Windows 10 just a week ago, means system builders are expecting to see a flurry of PC upgrades.

"This will drive new PC sales as the new CPUs require new motherboards at a minimum, or a new PC altogether, to use the new CPU and its power and capabilities," said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, a Cambridge, Ontario-based Intel partner. "These changes also mean good things for the gaming industry, with new software certain to be poised to take advantage of the latest chipsets from Intel, available at a very attractive price point."

No information was revealed on other Skylake processors, including those for mobile devices. However, according to preliminary performance data leaks recently released by Fanless Tech, Skylake's three mobile series -- Y-Series, U-Series and H-Series -- will contain up to 17 percent, 10 percent and 11 percent faster CPUs, respectively.

The Y-Series will be aimed at mainstream notebooks, while the U-Series is for ultra-portables and the H-Series targets high-end notebooks, according to the report.

The full Skylake launch, which includes Intel's explanation of the architectural changes and lineup for mobile and other devices, is expected to occur at Intel's Developer Forum later this month.