Intel Core i7-6650U vs Intel Core i7-6870HQ
Intel Core i7-6650U► remove from comparison
The Intel Core i7-6650U is an ULV (ultra low voltage) dual-core SoC based on the Skylake architecture. In September 2015, it's the fastest CPU of the 15 W series (besides the i7-6600U) and can be found in ultrabooks as well as normal notebooks. In addition to two CPU cores with Hyper-Threading clocked at 2.2 - 3.4 GHz (2 cores: max. 3.2 GHz), the chip also integrates an Iris Graphics 540 GPU with 64 MB of dedicated eDRAM memory and a dual-channel DDR4-2133/DDR3L-1600 memory controller. The SoC is manufactured using a 14 nm process with FinFET transistors.
Skylake replaces both Haswell and Broadwell and brings the same microarchitecture in every TDP class from 4.5 to 45 W. The extensive improvements of the Skylake design include increased out-of-order buffers, optimized prefetching and branch prediction as well as additional performance gains through Hyper-Threading. Overall, however, performance per clock has been increased by only 5 to 10 percent (compared to Haswell) respectively under 5 percent (compard to Broadwell), which is quite modest for a new architecture ("Tock").
Furthermore, the organisation of the eDRAM cache has been modified. Instead of acting like a victim cache, which has to be adressed via the L3/LLC, the eDRAM can now be adressed directly by programms just like the main memory. The size is still 128 MB for the quad-core models (4C + GT4e), while the dual-core chips (2C + GT3e) only offer 64 MB.
According to the specified clock rates and the improved architecture, the Core i7-6650U should perform similar to a Core i5-4310M (Haswell, 37 W) and is one of the fastest ULV dual-cores as of late 2015. Thus, the CPU has sufficient power for office and multimedia purposes as well as more demanding applications and multitasking.
The integrated graphics unit called Iris Graphics 540 represents the "GT3e" version of the Skylake GPU (Intel Gen. 9). The 48 Execution Units, also called EUs, are clocked at 300 - 1050 MHz and offer (thanks to the fast eDRAM cache) a performance sligthly above a dedicated GeForce 920M. Games of 2015 can thus be played smoothly in low or medium settings. For more information about performance and features, check our page for the Iris Graphics 540.
Specified at a TDP of 15 W (including CPU, GPU and memory controller), the CPU is best suited for small notebooks and ultrabooks (11-inches and above). Optionally, the TDP can be lowered to 9.5 watts (cTDP down), reducing both heat dissipation and performance and allowing even more compact designs.
Intel Core i7-6870HQ► remove from comparison
The Intel Core i7-6870HQ is a fast quad-core processor for notebooks based on the Skylake architecture and was introduced in the beginning of 2016. Besides four CPU cores including Hyperthreading, which are clocked between 2.7-3.6 GHz (probable Turbo steps: 4 cores: up to 3.2 GHz, 2 cores: up to 3.4 GHz), the processor also includes a very fast graphics unit. The Iris Pro Graphics 580 (GT4e) has 72 EUs as well as 128 MB eDRAM cache, which can also be used by the CPU cores. It is manufactured using a 14 nm process with FinFET transistors.
Contrary to other models like the Core i7-6820HQ, the i7-6870HQ does have a much faster GPU, but neither supports the instruction set extensions TSX-NI nor vPro.
Intel uses Skylake to replace both Broadwell as well as Haswell and therefore uses one core design for all TDP classes between 4.5-45 Watts. Several improvements of the Skylake architecture include bigger Out-to-Order-Buffer, optimizations for pre-fetching as well as bigger gains by Hyperthreading. However, the changes are small for a "Tock" – a new micro architecture – in general, so the per-MHz performance is only between 5-10 % (compared to Haswell) or less than 5 % higher (compared to Broadwell), respectively.
The i7-6870HQ also benefits from the additional eDRAM cache in some cases, which can accelerate memory-heavy applications in particular.
Thanks to the additional eDRAM cache, the i7-6870HQ should even compete with the similarly clocked i7-6820HQ and is therefore one of the fastest notebook processors in the beginning of 2016. Even the most demanding applications and excessive multi-tasking are no problem for the high-end CPU.
The integrated GPU with the designation Iris Pro Graphics 580 (also known as "GT4e") represents the fastest version of the Skylake GPU (Intel Gen. 9). 72 Execution Units (EUs) run at 350 up to 1000 MHz and allow a performance comparable to a dedicated mainstream chip. The GPU might be able to compete with a GeForce 945M under perfect conditions and it is therefore the fastest iGPU on the market by a pretty big margin. Modern games from 2015/2016 can usually be played smoothly at medium settings. More information about the performance and the features is available on our dedicated page for the Iris Pro Graphics 580.
According to its TDP of 45 Watts, the chip is primarily designed for bigger notebooks starting with 15-inch screens. The TDP can optionally be reduced to 35 Watts (cTDP down), but this would obviously affect the performance.
|Model||Intel Core i7-6650U||Intel Core i7-6870HQ|
|Series||Intel Core i7||Intel Core i7|
|Series: Core i7 Skylake|
|Clock||2200 - 3400 MHz||2700 - 3600 MHz|
|L1 Cache||128 KB||256 KB|
|L2 Cache||512 KB||1 MB|
|L3 Cache||4 MB||8 MB|
|Cores / Threads||2 / 4||4 / 8|
|TDP||15 Watt||45 Watt|
|Technology||14 nm||14 nm|
|max. Temp.||100 °C||100 °C|
|Features||Dual-Channel DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2133 Memory Controller, HyperThreading, AVX, AVX2, Quick Sync, Virtualization, AES-NI, vPro, TXT||Dual-Channel DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2133 Memory Controller, AVX, AVX2, Quick Sync, Virtualization, AES-NI, TXT|
|iGPU||Intel Iris Graphics 540 (300 - 1050 MHz)||Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 (350 - 1000 MHz)|
|$415 U.S.||$434 U.S.|
|Manufacturer||Intel Core i7 6650U||Intel Core i7 6870HQ|