GDC: Intel Announces New Desktop CPUs
Intel’s latest Haswell CPUs have been focusing on mobile and power consumption so far. As a result, desktop users have not received any major performance improvements. Even the benefits of 128 MB L4 cache and most powerful iGPU were limited to BGA packages soldered to motherboards. At GDC Intel has announced some things desktop users can look forward to, however prices were not mentioned.
During the last few CPU generations, Intel released hexa-core Extreme Edition CPUs about a year after the initial release of a new generation. These E series CPUs are considerably more expensive, require a different socket, have no integrated GPUs and have more cache with more powerful memory controller. The Haswell-E Core i7 CPUs are going further this year. It will get 8 cores, which was previously only available on Xeon server CPUs. It will require a new X99 chipset and support DDR4 memory. The planned release date is the second half of this year.
Another update will come sooner and will be more affordable. While Sandy Bridge CPUs could be overclocked extremely well, Ivy Bridge and Haswell were getting too hot much sooner. There will be refresh, codenamed “Devil’s Canyon” with a new package for Haswell. They will have 0.1 GHz higher clock than their predecessors and improved heat dissipation should benefit the overclockers. These refreshed parts will be compatible with new 9-series chipset, but it is not known if they are compatible with the current 8-series motherboards.
The new motherboards will also support CPUs based on 14 nm Broadwell architecture, which will be a die-shrink of Haswell. Therefore, the old rumours about Broadwell being BGA-only have been false. The socketed Broadwell CPUs will also get versions with Iris Pro graphics and thus the additional L4 cache. While many desktop users do not care about iGPUs much, the large L4 cache can in some cases be beneficial. If Intel continues its tendency to put most powerful iGPU only in the top CPUs, AMD’s Kaveri will remain the best choice for budget users looking for APU-only system.
Finally, this year is the 20th anniversary of Intel’s Pentium CPU. After Intel has introduced the “Core” branding, “Pentium” became the name for low-end CPUs. For the anniversary, Intel will release a K-series version of dual-core Haswell Pentium with overclocking support. This should be good news for people looking for a cheap and powerful CPU. Depending on the price, they might get a much better performance/price ratio compared to current Pentium or i3 CPUs. This CPU will support current 8-series and future 9-series chipsets.