Intel’s Speed Shift cranks extra performance out of its 6th-generation Core

Intel Skylake
Back in August, when Intel finally decided to detail its Skylake processor at IDF 2015, one of the most interesting features of the new tech was Speed Shift which, according to the company, moves CPU clock speed control away from the OS and, instead, moves it towards the architecture itself. This will apparently make the processor more versatile and less reliant on Windows.

It’s especially ideal for ramping up clock speeds quickly, which improves input responsiveness. With tablets and 2-in-1s becoming more commonplace than ever, this is an essential feature for a processor to pack, since touchscreen interaction demands an instantaneous response. Theoretically, that’s what Speed Shift aims to deliver, with Intel claiming a 30x improvement in performance state transitions from the operating system to the CPU.

PC Perspective decided to put the new feature to the test, and devised three different methods for testing. One involves a custom application from Intel that produces an artificial workload spike, while the other two consist of standard benchmarks including SunSpider and WebXPRT, as well as a high-speed camera recording of someone touch-scrolling in both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

With the custom workload app loaded up on the new Surface Pro 4 with a sixth-gen i5, PC Perspective noticed the peak 3.0GHz clock speed was met within just a few milliseconds, while it took the Speed Shift-deprived version a bit over 60ms.

In Microsoft Edge, touch latency saw an improvement of 72 percent. Chrome saw a 41 percent boost.

The SunSpider and WebXPRT benchmark tests, standardly adopted by reviewers and hardware vendors to gauge performance, yielded less dramatic but notable results. In both Chrome and Edge, a 5 to 8 percent improvement was determined after updating to Windows 10 build 10586, which enables the new Speed Shift technology. Meanwhile, WebXPRT, which is designed to emulate everyday tasks from photo enhancement to stock pricing, saw improvements ranging from 22 percent to 34 percent, impressive considering the same hardware is in use.

Lastly, for the real-world test, the staff at PC Perspective used an iPhone 6 to recording at 240 frames per second to spy repeated swipes of the screen. For this test, they used a Surface Book with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, including a potentially more demanding use of Google Maps within Chrome “for good measure.” In Edge, touch latency saw an improvement of 72 percent. Chrome saw a 41 percent boost.

PC Perspective also reports that every currently shipping motherboard bolsters support for Speed Shift. If you have compatible hardware, all you need to do is upgrade to Windows 10 version 10586, you should be good to go.

Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?

Microsoft asks Edge Insiders for help with its new browser development

If you want to be among the first to try Microsoft's new Edge browser that's built on Google's open-source Chromium rendering engine, you can sign up to be an Edge Insider. Microsoft is asking users to provide feedback.

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, and it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.

These Raspberry Pi 3 bundles will cover everyone, from coders to gamers

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a low-budget computing platform capable of doing just about anything. We rounded up a handful of the best Raspberry Pi 3 bundles to get you started on a variety of DIY projects.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

5 reasons your Macbook keeps restarting and how to fix the issue

It can be frustrating when your Apple MacBook keeps restarting, but this serious problem can be fixed! We'll go over the common causes for this issue, what you can do to fix them, and why it's okay to take your Mac to a pro!