INTEL’S NEXT-GEN SUPER-CHIPS
Intel’s Kaby Lake chips are now shipping in both mobile and desktop form, which means Intel’s high-end platform finds itself in the odd position of being fully two generations behind in architectural terms. Currently, the Core i7 Extreme Edition lineup, including the monstrous 10-core i7-6950X, is based on the Broadwell-E architecture.
With that in mind, it makes a certain kind of sense to find that Intel is preparing a double whammy for its high-end desktop series in 2017. It seems both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X chips are go for launch.
Skylake-X will be the bad boys of Intel’s 2017 range, rocking in with six, eight, or 10 cores, and TDPs up to 140 watts. Sky Lake-X chips will also pack as many as 44 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for massive I/O capability, along with a quad-channel memory controller. That said, Intel already offers a 10core CPU, so it remains to be seen whether Sky Lake-X will be much of a step forward for raw performance.
Kaby Lake-X, meanwhile, will be limited to a mere four cores, 16 PCI Express lanes, and a dual-channel memory controller. If that seems like a retrograde step, our best guess is that the Kaby Lake SKUs may be a pre-emptive response to AMD’s new Zen CPUs. AMD will be offering a full range of traditional Zen CPUs without integrated graphics, and Kaby Lake-X could be an attempt to see off the bottom end of the Zen offering. Whatever, both of these new CPU families from Intel will slot into the new LGA2066 socket, breaking backward compatibility with existing LGA2011 platforms and chipsets. Consequently, a new platform and chipset, codenamed Basin Falls-X, will arrive. Highlights will include up to 10 USB 3.0 ports, and up to 24 lanes for PCI Express storage.
Not long for this world: Intel's LGA2011 socket.