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Intel’s Skylake generation begins with a pair of powerful processors

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The first two chips from Intel's sixth-gen Core family are designed for overclocking and available today

The old Wintel duo is back in sync this month, as Microsoft's launch of Windows 10 has been quickly followed up by the release of two new processors from Intel. The Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K are the first from Intel's sixth-generation Core processor family, codenamed Skylake, and they're targeted squarely at performance enthusiasts. The two desktop chips are clocked at 4GHz and 3.5GHz, respectively, across four cores.

A new Z170 chipset and a new LGA1151 CPU socket will accompany Intel's move to the Skylake microarchitecture. Yes, that means you'll need a new motherboard or an entirely new PC to get to enjoy the power of Intel's latest, but there should be little shortage of choice, with all the big motherboard and PC vendors ready to take your order right away.

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Intel is pricing the higher-end Core i7 chip at $350 and the Core i5 at $243. Both have a 91W TDP (Thermal Design Power, a measure of how much heat each CPU puts out under load) which is a predictably high number for what are clearly intended to be the centerpieces of the next wave of awesomely powerful gaming rigs. Unlike Broadwell, Skylake's 14nm precursor that's focused on power efficiency and better battery life for portable devices, these new Core chips are primarily about maximizing power output.

The inaugurating pair of Skylake processors won't be alone in Intel's K class of unlocked, overclocking-ready chips, and the company is promising to even deliver one for notebooks later in the year. That's right, we can look forward to more exotic cooling systems and even more speed in the gaming laptops of our near future. Intel can be expected to also have more power-efficient, portability-oriented subsets in its sixth-gen Core family, but at least for now the emphasis for the company is on reasserting its lead as the PC performance champion.