Intel’s upcoming Skylake processors promise improved low power performance & 30% longer battery life

Intel Skylake

Intel’s upcoming processor refresh with Skylake appears to be promising for Mac users awaiting a significant performance upgrade. Internal Intel slides leaked by the website FanlessTech describe the year-over-year advancements and performance improvements from Broadwell to Skylake chips. As Apple is expected to include Skylake processors from Intel in refreshed hardware later this year or early next year, these specs give us a preview of what is likely coming to the Mac’s performance.

As far as advancements go, the upcoming Skylake chipset boasts better low power CPU performance and a 30% longer battery life compared to its predecessor. According to the leaked slide, Broadwell capped out at 8.5 hours with the test configuration while the Skylake chips will deliver 11.3 hours hours of performance with the same test configuration.

The leaked slides also break out improved CPU and graphics performance for each chip series in the Skylake family: Y-series picks up 17% faster CPU performance, 1.4 hours of battery life, and 41% faster Intel HD graphics; U-series will be 10% faster with 34% faster graphics; H-series boasts gains off 11% faster CPU and 16% faster Intel HD graphics; and the S-series chips gain 11% faster CPU performance and 28% faster graphics performance.

Apple most recently updated its 15-inch MacBook Pro lineup in May with refreshed hardware including a Force Touch trackpad but old Haswell processors while the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro picked up new Broadwell chips in March. The chipset also adds support for new technologies including wireless charging, although current Macs don’t yet support such features.

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  1. irelandjnr - 8 years ago

    Keep pushing those battery increases Intel. 30% increase in battery life every 1-3 years please.

  2. mikhailt - 8 years ago

    Heh, I’d say these are marketing numbers, not realistically accurate. Reduce these by 50% and that is probably more like it. 5% or less improvement for CPU, 10% for iGPU, 5-10% for battery and so on.

    The only real benefit I am looking forward to in Skylake-based update on Macs is TB3 with official support for eGPUs. I just hope Apple is not going to screw us over by blocking it.

    • Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 8 years ago

      Well, if history is any indication with regards to TB, Apple has always had a richer TB driver than Windows. Remember, Apple came to Intel with the idea and original specs for Thunderbolt and I think Apple has a stronger commitment with regards to Thunderbolt, especially since they do have a fuller spec driver support than Windows, and Apple puts Thunderbolt is just about every computer they make. The only reason why they left it out for the MacBook is probably due to the processor used doesn’t support Thunderbolt and because of the nature of the product, Thunderbolt was probably not a big deal for most users. I personally won’t use USB external drives anymore, so for me, I won’t ever buy a computer without Thunderbolt unless something comes out that’s beyond Thunderbolt much to how TB is to Firewire.

      I would think that any new features to TB would be implemented on Macs before Windows computers.

      • mikhailt - 8 years ago

        Oh no, sorry, I wasn’t clear. I don’t mean blocking TB3, I meant blocking eGPU support.

      • WaveMedia (@WaveMedia) - 8 years ago

        Even the MacBook will get Thunderbolt next generation. Thunderbolt 3 is going to use the USB-C connector. I think if TB3 was already a thing (which it technically should have been given Intel have been behind on all their releases the last year) the MacBook would have been sporting it in that USB-C connector it has.

  3. Scott Gerber - 8 years ago

    I’d rather Intel focus on CPU and graphics performance but everyone is obsessed with low power performance these days. However, I’m too spoiled working on a 27″ iMac that I could never opt for a laptop as my main machine.

    Maybe I’ll have to settle for Skylake if Apple upgrades the 5K iMac with it and includes USB Type C.

    • MattR - 8 years ago

      It is a little disappointing to spend so much money on a low end macbook retina, only to not be able to play any intensive graphical games…

      • mikhailt - 8 years ago

        That’s actually the reason to be happy about the upcoming TB3 support as it will include eGPU support. In other words, you could connect TitanX GPU to your Macbook via TB3.

        The only issue is, would Apple allow eGPU to work effortlessly on Macs or will they hinder it like they do now.

      • MattR - 8 years ago

        Whattttt. How does that work exactly? A gpu in an external case?

      • mikhailt - 8 years ago

        That’s pretty much it. An external chassis with PCIe slot and a power supply to power the 200+ watt desktop graphic card. There are already people hacking nVidia Titan X/Z to work via TB2 on a rMBP and gaming on it.

      • MattR - 8 years ago

        Holy crap! I want! Do you know if a 2013 rMBP is TB2? Do you know how hard it is to hack too?

      • mikhailt - 8 years ago

        It’s very hard and expensive. You can find more info here for your model of successive DIY project:

    • Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 8 years ago

      It all depends on what you are doing. For people that are using a computer for email, browsing, texting, typical Office type apps and things like that, raw CPU power has reached a point where a laptop is usable and they are getting cheaper and the portability of them. Yeah, I use an iMac due to the larger screen size, additional connectivity. I wish it did have HDMI port on the back, but I can get a TB to HDMI adapter if I need to. The problem with the iMac is if you have to bring it in for servicing and the monitor is fine, it’s a lot to lug around. I wish Apple would Bro down and offer a headless i5/i7 system that was more powerful than the Mac Mini. I would like Apple to release one of the newer high end i7 headless unit that offers more expansion with RAM, HDD/SSD’s, higher end GPU, and the more powerful multi-core i7’s. Doesn’t Intel have a 8 core i7 and possibly even more powerful i7’s on the way?

      I think Apple is missing a decent sized market with not releasing higher end i5/i7 based headless units that are smack dab in between the MacMini and the MacPro. I have discussions with lots of Hackintosh users and they are slapping together very nice systems using the higher end i7’s that Apple doesn’t offer and if Apple could put out a nice headless unit that could compete, they might be able to attract some of those users. They don’t want the MacPro because they don’t see the need for 2 GPUs, they just want a fast CPU and a fast GPU and a decent amount of RAM, etc. So, I think there is a big enough market for an higher end headless i5/i7 unit.

  4. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 8 years ago

    And what’s happening on the Xeon or higher end workstation processor front? The MacPro is getting older and they haven’t updated it in over a year, are we still waiting for Intel to ship something faster? What’s the hold up?

    • taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

      Looks like most of those are on hold until 2016 with Kaby Lake.

    • mikhailt - 8 years ago

      Nothing, Xeons are not updated as frequent as the consumer version. They are issued minor updates yearly but Apple doesn’t care about them and will only update every 2-3 years instead.

    • WaveMedia (@WaveMedia) - 8 years ago

      There’s nothing to upgrade them with. Maybe newer GPU options, but as far as CPU’s go Intel have nothing to offer.

  5. Joyce Taylor - 8 years ago

    Could you please unsubscribe us from these continuing emails
    Richard Taylor
    Joyce Taylor

    Thank you

  6. Jeroen (@sharpeye1969) - 8 years ago

    hopefully the put this in the macbook 12″ fast because the top spec model with the 1.3ghz is not available for ordering anymore!!!!!!



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Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.