Test Bed

As per our processor testing policy, we take a premium category motherboard suitable for the socket, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the manufacturer's maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible. It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend out testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i3-6320, 2C/4T, 4MB L3, 3.9 GHz
Intel Core i3-6300, 2C/4T, 4MB L3, 3.8 GHz
Intel Core i3-6100, 2C/4T, 3MB L3, 3.7 GHz
Motherboards ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme
Cooling Cooler Master Nepton 140XL
Power Supply Antec 1200W High Current Pro
Memory Crucial DDR4-2133 C15 4x8 1.35V
Memory Settings JEDEC
Video Cards ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB
MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G
MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB
MSI R9 285 Gaming 2G
ASUS R7 240 2GB
Hard Drive Crucial MX200 1TB
Monitor Viewsonic VX2270XMH-LED 22-inch FHD
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit SP1

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our multiple test beds. Some of this hardware is not in this test bed specifically, but they are used in other testing.

Many thanks to...

Thank you to AMD for providing us with the R9 290X 4GB GPUs. These are MSI branded 'Gaming' models, featuring MSI's Twin Frozr IV dual-fan cooler design and military class components. Bundled with the cards is MSI Afterburner for additional overclocking, as well as MSI's Gaming App for easy frequency tuning.

The R9 290X is a second generation GCN card from AMD, under the Hawaii XT codename, and uses their largest Sea Islands GPU die at 6.2 billion transistors at 438mm2 built at TSMC using a 28nm process. For the R9 290X, that means 2816 streaming processors with 64 ROPs using a 512-bit memory bus to GDDR5 (4GB in this case). The official power rating for the R9 290X is 250W.

The MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G runs the core at 1000 MHz to 1040 MHz depending on what mode it is in (Silent, Gaming or OC), and the memory at 5 GHz. Displays supported include one DisplayPort, one HDMI 1.4a, and two dual-link DVI-D connectors.

Further Reading: AnandTech's AMD R9 290X Review

Thank you to ASUS for providing us with GTX 980 Strix GPUs. At the time of release, the STRIX brand from ASUS was aimed at silent running, or to use the marketing term: '0dB Silent Gaming'. This enables the card to disable the fans when the GPU is dealing with low loads well within temperature specifications. These cards equip the GTX 980 silicon with ASUS' Direct CU II cooler and 10-phase digital VRMs, aimed at high-efficiency conversion. Along with the card, ASUS bundles GPU Tweak software for overclocking and streaming assistance.

The GTX 980 uses NVIDIA's GM204 silicon die, built upon their Maxwell architecture. This die is 5.2 billion transistors for a die size of 298 mm2, built on TMSC's 28nm process. A GTX 980 uses the full GM204 core, with 2048 CUDA Cores and 64 ROPs with a 256-bit memory bus to GDDR5. The official power rating for the GTX 980 is 165W.

The ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB (or the full name of STRIX-GTX980-DC2OC-4GD5) runs a reasonable overclock over a reference GTX 980 card, with frequencies in the range of 1178-1279 MHz. The memory runs at stock, in this case 7010 MHz. Video outputs include three DisplayPort connectors, one HDMI 2.0 connector and a DVI-I.

Further Reading: AnandTech's NVIDIA GTX 980 Review

Thank you to Cooler Master for providing us with Nepton 140XL CLCs. The Nepton 140XL is Cooler Master's largest 'single' space radiator liquid cooler, and combines with dual 140mm 'JetFlo' fans designed for high performance, from 0.7-3.5mm H2O static pressure. The pump is also designed to be faster, more efficient, and uses thicker pipes to assist cooling with a rated pump noise below 25 dBA. The Nepton 140XL comes with mounting support for all major sockets, as far back as FM1, AM2 and 775.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Cooler Master Nepton 140XL Review

Thank you to Corsair for providing us with an AX1200i PSU. The AX1200i was the first power supply to offer digital control and management via Corsair's Link system, but under the hood it commands a 1200W rating at 50C with 80 PLUS Platinum certification. This allows for a minimum 89-92% efficiency at 115V and 90-94% at 230V. The AX1200i is completely modular, running the larger 200mm design, with a dual ball bearing 140mm fan to assist high-performance use. The AX1200i is designed to be a workhorse, with up to 8 PCIe connectors for suitable four-way GPU setups. The AX1200i also comes with a Zero RPM mode for the fan, which due to the design allows the fan to be switched off when the power supply is under 30% load.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Corsair AX1500i Power Supply Review

Thank you to Crucial for providing us with MX200 SSDs. Crucial stepped up to the plate as our benchmark list grows larger with newer benchmarks and titles, and the 1TB MX200 units are strong performers. Based on Marvell's 88SS9189 controller and using Micron's 16nm 128Gbit MLC flash, these are 7mm high, 2.5-inch drives rated for 100K random read IOPs and 555/500 MB/s sequential read and write speeds. The 1TB models we are using here support TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 (eDrive) encryption and have a 320TB rated endurance with a three-year warranty.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Crucial MX200 (250 GB, 500 GB & 1TB) Review

Thank you to G.Skill for providing us with memory. G.Skill has been a long-time supporter of AnandTech over the years, for testing beyond our CPU and motherboard memory reviews. We've reported on their high capacity and high-frequency kits, and every year at Computex G.Skill holds a world overclocking tournament with liquid nitrogen right on the show floor. One of the most recent deliveries from G.Skill was their 4x16 GB DDR4-3200 C14 Kit, which we are planning for an upcoming review.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Memory Scaling on Haswell Review, with G.Skill DDR3-3000

Thank you to Corsair for providing us with memory. Similarly, Corsair (along with PSUs) is also a long-time supporter of AnandTech. Being one of the first vendors with 16GB modules for DDR4 was a big deal, and now Corsair is re-implementing LEDs back on its memory after a long hiatus along with supporting specific projects such as ASUS ROG versions of the Dominator Platinum range. We're currently looking at our review pipeline to see when our next DRAM round-up will be, and Corsair is poised to participate.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Memory Scaling on Haswell-E Review

Skylake Core i3 (51W) Review Benchmark Overview
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94 Comments

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  • tipoo - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Looks like even a Skylake i3 may be able to retire the venerable 2400/2500K, higher frame rates and better frame times at that. However a native quad does prevent larger dips. Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    I have a feeling much that is due to the higher base clock on the SkyLake i3 vs. the i5 2500K. Skylake's IPC improvements also help boost performance here too.

    The real challenge is if the i3 6320 can best the i5 2500k as the same 3.9 Ghz base clock speed. Sandy Bridge was a good overclocker so hitting those figures shouldn't be difficult at all.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    That's true, overclocked the difference would diminish. But you also get modernities like high clocked DDR4 in the switchover.

    At any rate, funny that a dual core i3 can now fluidly run just about everything, it's two cores are probably faster than the 8 in the current consoles.
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Benchrmarks don't tell you about the hiccups when playing with a dual core. Specially with things like Crysis 3 or even worse ROt Tomb Raider where you get like half the fps just by using a dual core bs a cheapo Athlon 860K. Reply
  • gamerk2 - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    That's why Frame Times are also measured, which catches those hitches. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - link

    I had a lot of issues with my Sandy Bridge i3-2125 in Battlefield 3 circa 2011 with lag and poor minimum frame rates.

    After long discussions on the forums, it was determined disabling hyper threading actually improved frame rate consistency. So at least in the Sandy Bridge IPC, and probably dating back to Nehalem or even Prescott, Jackson Technology or whatever you want to call it, has a habit of stalling the pipeline if there are too many cache misses to complete the instruction. Obviously more cache resolves this, so the issue isn't as prominent on the i7's, and it would certainly explain why the 4MB i3's are more consistent performers than the 3MB variety.

    Of course the only way to prove if hyper threading is causing performance inconsistency is to disable it. It'd be a damn unique investigation for Anandtech to do a IPC improvement impact on it's affect on hyper-threading performance over the years, perhaps even dating back to the P4.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - link

    HOW ON EARTH DID I MISS THIS?!?!

    Thank you for introducing me to Intel's tech known as "Jackson!" This is now *SO* on my "To Buy" list!

    Thank you Samus! :-D
    Reply
  • bug77 - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Neah, I went i5-2500k -> i5-6600k and there's no noticeable difference. The best part of the upgrade was those new I/O ports on the new motherboard, but it's a sad day when you upgrade after 4 years and the most you have to show is you new M2 or USB 3.1 ports (and USB 3.1 is only added through a 3rd party chip).
    Sure, if I bench it, the new i5 is faster, but since the old i5 wasn't exactly slow, I can't say that I see a significant improvement.

    Now, if you mean that instead of getting an i5-2500k one can now look at a Skylake i3, I'm not going to argue with you there. Though (money permitting) the boost speed might be nice to have anyway.
    Reply
  • Cellar Door - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    This is a poorly educated comment:

    a) Your perceived speed might be limited by your storage
    b) You don't utilize your cpu's multitasking abilities fully(all cores)
    Reply
  • Duckeenie - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Why did you continue to post your comment if you believed you were making poorly educated points? Reply

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