Benchmarking Intel's Skylake-U Series Core i7 Processor For Laptops

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Skylake CPU Throughput Tests: Lame MT, SunSpider, PCMark 8

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. LAME is an open-source MP3 audio encoder that is used widely in a multitude of third party applications.

Lame MT
Audio Encoding On Skylake Mobile
In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (ripped from a crazy-long Grateful Dead jam) and then convert it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application, in both single and multi-thread modes. This is what we would consider a "lightly-threaded" benchmark test since it technically only makes use of two simultaneous threads for processing.

Run times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.

Core i7 6500U Lame MT Benchmark
There's an interesting comparison to observe here, though the overall numbers at the top end of the group are fairly condensed with small variances in performance. However, notice the 2.5GHz Core i7-6500U Skylake CPU is just barely behind the Core i7-5500U and even some of the other higher clock speed but lower Turbo Speed 5th generation chips, in single threaded performance. Then notice how Skylake skips past these same legacy chips just barely in multi-thread performance. Perhaps this an early indicator of Skylake's stronger multi-threading performance.

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark
JavaScript Performance Testing

Next up, we have some numbers from the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark. According to the SunSpider website:

This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, not the DOM or other browser APIs. It is designed to compare different versions of the same browser, and different browsers to each other. Unlike many widely available JavaScript benchmarks, this test is real-world, balanced and statistically sound. 

We should note that this is more of a platform test, in that different browser versions, associated with different OS types can and do affect scores.
Core i7 6500U SunSpider Benchmark

There's not a lot to see here unfortunately and again, the top quadrant in this group is tightly packed in terms of percentage variance. Still, the Yoga 900 managed to pull out the second best score we've realized to date.

PCMark 8
Productivity and Sytem Level Benchmarking
PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests--plus battery life testing for mobile platforms—to help consumers find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case. This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments.

We tested three of the benchmark modules: Home, Work and Storage

Core i7 6500U PCMark 8 Benchmark

Historically, the PCMark series has also been heavily platform dependent in terms of its score weights. The storage subsystem, CPU, memory bandwidth and graphics engine all come into play, though perhaps the most sensitive of the weighting would be storage. As you can see, many of these ultrabooks all clock in with Solid State Drives that report near identical performance in the storage test, so it offers a good baseline actually to measure from. Here the Yoga 900 and its Core i7-6500U processor comes in a close 4th in the group, with again the top tier reporting in closely matched. It's possible, however, that platform drivers need a little bit more maturity for Skylake, as we expected a stronger showing overall from the system in PCMark 8.

Let's look at more strenuous CPU testing next and then dive in to graphics horsepower as well.

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