Intel promised it would reveal more details about its Skylake architecture at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco later this week but that doesn't stop sites from speculating about what could be new in the chips, which hit retail stores earlier this month.
German tech site Heise was benchmarking the Core i7 6700 "Skylake" processor and noticed there's something peculiar going on what the single-threaded performance of the chip. The site discovered single-threaded performance of the Skylake chip was 2.4x faster than that of the Haswell-based Core i7 4790K CPU in the SPEC CPU2006 suite, whereas the performance difference when comparing multi-core and multi-threaded scenarios was a lot less.
While unconfirmed, the data suggests Skylake has a sort of Reverse Hyper-Threading technology that combines several physical cores into a single super-core. Such a technology was announced by Soft Machines late last year, this is a company founded by two former Intel employees. The Soft Machines VISC technology promised to enable virtual cores and virtual hardware threads, enabling dynamic allocation and sharing of resources across cores, offering a 2-4x performance boost:
Heise speculates that Intel might have added a feature to the CPU that allows a second core to assist the first core with e.g. functional units, caches or buffers. Heise speaks about a single virtual core that is made up of several physical cores. This isn’t actually something new, a similar technology was announced by the company Soft Machines at the end of 2014. This company, founded by two former Intel employees has developed a technology they call VISC.
On its website Soft Machines writes, “The VISC architecture, based on the concept of “virtual cores” and “virtual hardware threads”, enables dynamic allocation and sharing of resources across cores.”
The company also promises to increase performance 2 to 4 times, which is on par with the performance increase reported by Heise. So far it’s only speculation of the website, actual details on the processor are expected at the Intel Developer Forum that’s held the 18th of August this year.