Lat­est tech­nol­ogy news

In­tel’s Broad­well-E sets a new stan­dard with its 10 cores’ worth of horse­power, re­veals Gor­don Mah Ung

Tech Advisor - - Contents - CHRIS MARTIN

Moth­er­board maker ASRock re­cently outed In­tel’s most an­tic­i­pated en­thu­si­ast chip of the year: a 10-core Core i7 CPU. Yes, we’ve seen dribs and drabs of leaks for months, in­clud­ing In­tel’s own ac­ci­den­tal dis­clo­sure of the Core i7-6950X re­cently, but no ven­dors had con­firmed the core count un­til now.

“The most un­miss­able part of In­tel Broad­well-E is the flag­ship Core i76950X, which will be the first deca-core pro­ces­sor for the com­mer­cial mar­ket,” ASRock said in a press re­lease on its web­site.

ASRock went on to con­firm the rest of the line-up. ”While this new CPU boasts a com­pelling 10-cores-and-20-threads ar­chi­tec­ture, users re­quire a BIOS up­date for their motherboar­ds to han­dle it; this up­date ap­plies to the rest of the Broad­well-E gang, in­clud­ing i7-6900K [8-core], i7-6850K [6-core] and i7-6800K [6-core] as well,” the press re­lease said.

This matters be­cause In­tel’s Sky­lake CPUs (and Win­dows 10) have failed to buoy sag­ging com­puter sales since they de­buted last year, so the com­pany has in­creas­ingly looked to gamers and hard­ware en­thu­si­asts to move prod­uct. Noth­ing builds ex­cite­ment like more CPU cores, which the Core i7-6950X has in spades.

More leaks than the Ti­tanic

One can’t help but won­der if all the leaks are some­how con­doned by In­tel to help stoke the hype-train en­gine. We asked In­tel to com­ment on ASRock’s con­fir­ma­tion and was given the boil­er­plate re­sponse that the com­pany does not com­ment on unan­nounced prod­uct.

In­tel had its own ac­ci­den­tal slip, when a web page ap­peared to con­firm that the Core i7-6950X would hit speeds of up to 3.5GHz and have 25MB of cache (see below). That page has since been pulled.

MSI ‘leaked’ news, too. The com­pany said its X99 motherboar­ds were ready for Broad­well-E. MSI’s press re­lease, how­ever, was far more coy and used screen­shots and per­for­mance num­bers from a Xeon chip in­stead. Gi­ga­byte also qui­etly added “Sup­port 2016 Q2 com­ing new CPU” in a BIOS up­date pushed out in Jan­uary.

So ob­vi­ously, this has been a badly kept se­cret. The only real un­known is how much In­tel will charge for the CPU. When the chip first popped up on the leak radar, many peo­ple as­sumed the price would be £835.

In­tel has ba­si­cally charged just un­der a grand for its top-end pro­ces­sor since the days of the first quad-core Bloom­field Core i7-965 Ex­treme Edition. That price held when In­tel added two more cores to the Core i7-990X. Sev­eral gen­er­a­tions later, when In­tel ‘gave’ con­sumers two more cores still, for a to­tal of eight in the Core i7-5960X, the price re­mained £835.

With the 10-core Core i7-6950X, though, there are in­di­ca­tions In­tel may ramp up the price to £1,200. Again, In­tel hasn’t con­firmed nor talked about the CPU on the record, but ru­mours of the higher price have been hot and heavy since Jan­uary.

Con­sumers are balk­ing, not sur­pris­ingly, but In­tel may have good rea­son for the in­crease. In­tel’s top-end Core i7 chips have al­ways been re­pur­posed Xeon chips with a few fea­tures turned off. In­tel makes se­ri­ous bank off Xeons and doesn’t want to can­ni­bal­ize those sales. If the 10-core Xeon is com­ing in at a higher price, that could fun­nel down to the i7-6950X.

But then there’s Zen

The real wild card in all this is AMD’s Zen. This will be the com­pany’s first ma­jor CPU launch in years. Re­designed from the ground up and ru­moured to pack from two to 32 CPU cores, Zen is also adopt­ing an In­tel-like Hy­per-Thread­ing tech­nol­ogy. It could pose the first true com­pe­ti­tion to In­tel’s high-end CPUs since the days of the Athlon FX-51.

Know­ing that Zen is ar­riv­ing later this year, does In­tel price its 10-core chip to crush AMD on pric­ing be­fore it ar­rives, or just wait and see whether Zen poses a real threat? If Zen is priced to give con­sumers, say, a 16-core chip at £835 or £1,250, does In­tel then gut the price of its Core i7-6950X? Who knows. What we do know, thanks to ASRock, is that Broad­well-E will in­deed have 10 cores.

Ac­ci­den­tally on pur­pose? This is the In­tel sup­port site list­ing for the unan­nounced Core-i7 6950X pro­ces­sor. It’s since been pulled

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.