Intel Shows the First “Broadwell” CPU Demo
Just 3 months ago, Intel released new CPUs based on their latest microarchitecture – Haswell. Unlike the big performance jump of Sandy Bridge, Haswell has added only moderate improvement in performance and is more focused on the reduction of power consumption. Such a focus is disappointing for many people playing on desktop PCs, but it has been enjoying success in laptops and tablets.
At the Intel Developer Forum 2013, Intel demonstrated the Haswell's successor, Broadwell, for the first time. Broadwell should use the same architecture as Haswell, but on a smaller manufacturing process – 14 nm. The processor demoed at IDF was the ULT version, intended for use in the thinnest Ultrabooks and tablets. The new SoC with the same performance as ULT Haswell was using 30% less power, which means both less heat and longer battery life. Intel plans to start mass manufacturing of these new CPUs at the end of this year, with widescale availability in 2014.
In terms of the perspectives for gaming, it is looking like a mixed bag at the moment. The availability of low power, but still powerful Intel CPUs should lead way for more Windows 8 tablets that can run normal PC games. Some may even outperform Razer Edge, while being thin, silent, light and cheaper. The newer more powerful iGPUs can also be expected, moving the baseline gaming power up once again. On the desktop things are completely unknown. Some rumours even say they will only be available in BGA versions on motherboards with no socketed variants. Most likely case would be another minor improvement for top desktop consumer quad-cores with the lower power usage compared to current i7-4770 and i5-4670. 3 generations of such small performance updates should accumulate to a more decent improvement over old Sandy Bridge. There are also Intel hexa-core CPUs providing more performance, but they are still priced too steep for most gamers. So far, the CPU performance/price ratio is climbing, but only slowly.