Haswell-E: What We Know

FOR PC ENTHUSIASTS looking for a summer CPU pick-meup, Intel's Devil's Canyon chip proved to be more of a yawner than adrenaline boost, thanks to dashed hopes of 5GHz overclocks on air for all. Fortunately, performance addicts will get a second shot when Intel's Haswell-E finally gets its longawaited reveal. Intel essentially packages up the well-known Haswell cores in a new larger CPU to make up the company's first consumer eight-core CPU. Broad outlines of Intel's chip have been known for months, but the latest leaked details may indicate that Intel intends to push multi-threading capability to more mainstream pricing than ever before.

As always, Intel wouldn't comment on unreleased products, but leaks aplenty seem to be flowing-not all of them appear to be solid, though. We've long known Haswell- E would have eight cores with Hyper-Threading, but a little more is apparent now. The topend CPU appears to be predictably named the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition and would come with a base clock speed of 3GHz and 20MB of L3 cache. The Core i7-5960X is expected to slot in at $999, but one online store slipped early pricing at closer to $1,100. The store, Shopbit.com, also priced out the two other expected Intel parts: the Core i7-5930K, and the Core i7-4820K at $631 and $425, respectively. The price "leak" by Shopbit.com is somewhat suspect, though.

Even after the pricing details were reported widely on the Internet, the prices and model numbers remained. Vendors usually pull the details once they realize the products aren't released or are still under wraps. Other details of the new chips seem more solid. The Core i7-5930K appears to be replacing the current six-core Core i7-4930K chip and will feature a base clock of 3.5GHz. The most promising of the three may be the Core i7-5820K CPU though, which would replace the $323 Core i7-4820K. What isn't known is the price. The leaked price, though taken with a pound of salt, indicates the CPU may come in at $425. That breaks the $323 pricing Intel has used for the last two CPUs in this tier: The Core i7- 4820K and the Core i7-3820K. Even so, the budget chip may come with a performance cost, if one report is accurate. Tech site ThePCEnthusiast.com reported that the Core i7-5820K may feature a hobbled PCIe configuration of one x16 and one x8, rather than two x16 PCIe slots. Like the leaked pricing, the info has a good chance of being wrong, as it breaks Intel's MO in how it declaws its CPUs. The company typically reduces cache size, turns off cores, removes Hyper-Threading, and uses other de-featuring techniques, including locking the CPUs to differentiate them. Reducing the number of PCIe lanes, especially on a platform intended to provide robust PCIe bandwidth, would be a new precedent and is unlikely.

One detail we do know to still be correct is the use of a new LGA2011-3 socket that is incompatible with current LGA2011 motherboards. Haswell- E is also confirmed to be the first consumer PC CPU to use a DDR4 memory controller. Full details won't be known until for another few weeks. But after being disappointed by Devil's Canyon, enthusiasts are hoping for a home run from Intel.

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