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Intel Broadwell-E Specifications Leaked – Core i7-6950X Flagship Processor To Rock 10 Cores and 20 Threads, Core i7-6900K, Core i7-6850K and Core i7-6800K Detailed

Nov 12, 2015

First specifications for the Intel Broadwell-E CPU family have been leaked and it seems like the chip giant is once again bringing an update to the core count on their HEDT processors. The Broadwell-E lineup which is Intel’s next generation HEDT (High-End desktop) family will be based around the X99 platform and will bring new SKUs to the consumer market that will be compatible with current generation of motherboards.

Intel Broadwell-E Specifications Leaked – Core i7-6950X Rocks 10 Cores and 20 Threads

For years now, Intel has been offering quad core and even dual core options on their mainstream lineup. The multi-threading design is available on their top-tier chips but it isn’t equivalent of actual cores on the die itself. To feed the need of enthusiasts, Intel has split their lineups into two categories, the mainstream family and the enthusiast family. The mainstream family consists of parts that are focused on regular consumers with gaming, business and home uses. Now Intel has done a good job in providing some decent overclocking features with K series processors that are featured in the mainstream lineup and board partners offer some cool motherboard options to users on the platform but those who need the best performance from Intel look at the HEDT lineup which includes the high-end desktop parts ranging from top of the line chips, motherboards and I/O options.

For years, Intel has segmented their top-of-the-line processors in the HEDT family with Extreme and Unlocked series options. Starting off with the first HEDT option that was available with the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition and the Core i7-980X which launched later, Intel has released several generations of HEDT processors, each one besting the previous in a couple of ways. The Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell generations have all seen their own HEDT processors from the Core i7-3960X, Core i7-4960X and the latest Core i7-5960X. The Core i7-980X was Intel’s first 6 core processor and the Core i7-5960X is Intel’s first 8 core processor. They both retailed at a launch price of $999 US but looks like Intel is going to unleash another beast soon.

The latest news on the Broadwell-E family comes straight from XFastest who have confirmed that Intel’s Core i7-6950X processor which is also the flagship processor of the Broadwell-E lineup will feature 10 cores and 20 threads. The processor will run at a base clock of 3.00 GHz followed by a turbo boost clock which is yet to be determined but I think Intel has made a point, that they are not stopping at 8 cores for their HEDT family but increasing the core count even further for consumers. The processor rocks 25 MB of L3 cache (2.5 MB per core) and will be compatible with current generation X99 motherboards that feature the LGA 2011-v3 socket. There’s no reason to believe that board partners of Intel won’t launch new motherboards to mark the arrival of the first 10 core processor from any company, whether Intel or AMD in the consumer market. Although Intel and AMD have both released higher core count processors in the server and workstation market, no 10 core high-performance CPU has yet launched in the desktop PC market.

Intel HEDT Flagship Processors (Gen vs Gen Specifications Comparison):

Intel HEDT Processor Families:

Intel HEDT Family Gulftown Sandy Bridge-E Ivy Bridge-E Haswell-E Broadwell-E Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Cascade Lake-X
Process Node 32nm 32nm 22nm 22nm 14nm 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm++
Flagship SKU Core i7-980X Core i7-3960X Core i7-4960X Core i7-5960X Core i7-6950X Core i9-7980XE Core i9-9980XE Xeon W-3175X TBD
Max Cores/Threads 6/12 6/12 6/12 8/16 10/20 18/36 18/36 28/56 18/36?
Clock Speeds 3.33/3,60 GHz 3.30/3.90 GHz 3.60/4.00 GHz 3.00/3.50 GHz 3.00/3.50 GHz 2.60/4.20 GHz 3.00/4.50 GHz 3.10/4.30 GHz TBD
Max Cache 12 MB L3 15 MB L3 15 MB L3 20 MB L3 25 MB L3 24.75 MB L3 24.75 MB L3 38.5 MB L3 24.75 MB L3?
Max PCI-Express Lanes (CPU) 32 Gen2 40 Gen2 40 Gen3 40 Gen3 40 Gen3 44 Gen3 44 Gen3 44 Gen3 44 Gen3?
Chipset Compatiblity X58 Chipset X79 Chipset X79 Chipset X99 Chipset X99 Chipset X299 X299 C612E X399?
Socket Compatiblity LGA 1366 LGA 2011 LGA 2011 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 3647 LGA 2066?
Memory Compatiblity DDR3-1066 DDR3-1600 DDR3-1866 DDR4-2133 DDR4-2400 DDR4-2666 DDR4-2800 DDR4-2666 DDR4-2933
Max TDP 130W 130W 130W 140W 140W 165W 165W 255W 165W?
Launch Q1 2010 Q4 2011 Q3 2013 Q3 2014 Q2 2016 Q3 2017 Q4 2018 Q4 2018 2H 2019
Launch Price $999 US $999 US $999 US $1059 US $1700 US $1999 US $1979 US ~$4000 US TBD

Based on a survey done by HWInsights a few months back, it was concluded that processors like the legacy Core i7-920, Core i7-980X and the recent Core i7-5960X are often termed as the most successful HEDT chips as they offer best value, features and high-end performance in their generation timeline.

Image Credits: HWInsights

“When performance enthusiasts are offered an innovative and enticing new product platform, typically the most affordable and the most premium product SKUs will sell well. The Core i7 980X “Gulftown” (first enthusiast six-core) and the Core i7 5960X “Haswell-E” (first enthusiast eight-core) are both highly successful premium models priced at the $1,000 (USD) mark.

“When a new platform is not enticing, only a small group of enthusiasts will adopt the new platform, typically purchasing the least expensive full-featured model. For Sandy Bridge-E, the most popular SKU was the Core i7 3930K ($583) and for Ivy Bridge-E the more popular SKU was the Core i7 4930K ($555).” via HWInsights

The study revealed that its not higher frequency that determines the success of a high end enthusiast chip nor the price, its the features adopted by new processors. The Core i7-980X was the first CPU to feature 6 cores and had 4 MB more cache but sold at a price of $999 US. This chip, despite the insane pricing was around three-times more popular than the 975 and generated an accumulated value 41% more than the high-bar set by the 920. So far Intel to see a good response to their next generation HEDT lineup, the definitely would have to up the amount of features not only on the platform but also on their latest CPUs. The Core i7-5960X is in the same way more popular along with the more price friendly Core i7-5820K which offers 6 cores for a price of $389 which is slightly more than the Core i7-6700K or the Core i7-4790K. Similarly, the Core i7-6950X might just be another great chip despite its high price which would be around $999 US as it features a high core count for enthusiasts to utilize.

Intel Core i7-6900K, Core i7-6850K and Core i7-6800K Detailed

Although the Core i7-6950X is one hell of a processor, Intel will also launch three more SKUs in the Broadwell-E lineup. This is the first time that Intel is launching four processors in an HEDT lineup but it might cover up the big price differences we have seen in the older lineups. Starting off with the Core i7-6900K which is an 8 core processor with 16 threads, 20 MB of L3 cache and a clock speed of 3.30 GHz base. The Core i7-6850K is a 6 core processor with 12 threads, 15 MB of L3 cache and a clock speed of 3.60 GHz base while the Core i7-6800K, also a 6 core processor, has 12 threads and 15 MB of L3 cache. This processor is clocked at 3.40 GHz. The TDPs for these processors are not known along with the prices but they are expected to launch later in 2016. There’s no doubt that the Core i7-6800K and Core i7-6900K will be priced around the sweet spot for enthusiasts and will mark a decent upgrade for those who are currently using the mainstream platforms. The processors will utilize higher clocked DDR4 DIMMs along with increased PCI-Express lanes and storage features that would include full compatibility with NVMe Express and 3D XPoint based Optane SSDs.

These details do sound really juicy but for now, we will treat this leak as a rumor but if anything is confirmed, Intel is definitely upping the core count on their workstation Broadwell-EP family and there’s no reason to stop at just 8 cores for the HEDT lineup.

Intel Broadwell-E Family Lineup:

Intel Broadwell-E Family

Processor Name Intel Core i7-6950X Intel Core i7-6900K Intel Core i7-6850K Intel Core i7-6800K
Process Node 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm
Cores/Threads 10/20 8/16 6/12 6/12
Core Clock 3.00 GHz 3.20 GHz 3.60 GHz 3.40 GHz
Boost Clock 3.50 GHz 3.70 GHz 3.80 GHz 3.60 GHz
L3 Cache 25 MB L3 Cache 20 MB L3 Cache 15 MB L3 Cache 15 MB L3 Cache
Unlocked Multiplier (BCLK OC) Yes, Full Range OC Yes, Full Range OC Yes, Full Range OC Yes, Full Range OC
Chipset X99 X99 X99 X99
Socket LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3
PCI-E Lanes 40 40 40 28
Memory Support DDR4-2400 MHz DDR4-2400 MHz DDR4-2400 MHz DDR4-2400 MHz
TDP 140W 140W 140W 140W
Launch Price $1723 US $1089 US $617 US $434 US

Intel Broadwell-EP With Up To 22 Cores and 44 Threads Arriving In Q1 2016

Intel has also revealed that they have plans to officially launch Broadwell-EP Xeon E5-2600 V4 processors in Q1 2016. From previous reports, we know that Intel will still be using their Brickland and Grantley platforms for these new chips as they were supposed to span three generations of Xeon processors starting with the Ivy Bridge family. The Grantley platform which is made up of the C610 series PCH, Ethernet XL710 controller and the new Ethernet X550 controller (Sageville) will power the enterprise 1S, 2S and 4S solutions.  There will additionally be DDR4 memory support as Intel makes a transition from DDR3 to DDR4 across their entire product stock from mobility processors, desktop processors and workstation/server class processors.

In terms of specifications, Broadwell-EP Xeon E5-2600 V4 processors will feature up to 22 cores while the EX series will feature up to 24 cores. The 22 core beast will feature a total of 44 threads and if we take 2.5 MB cache (per core slice) from Haswell-EP, we can expect to see up to 55 MB of L3 cache on these processors. The TDPs of the chips will range from 55 to 145 (160W Workstation only) and will be compatible with the Socket R3. The details seem to be true since it was already reported in a previously leaked slide from Intel which we covered a detailed report on. Broadwell-EP will feature up to 40 PCI-Express lanes and quad channel DDR4 memory support.

Intel Xeon Workstation/Server/Enterprise Platform Specifications:

Product Family Intel Xeon E5-2600/4600 V4 Intel Xeon E7-8800/4800 V4 Intel Xeon E5-2600/4600 V5 Intel Xeon E7-8800/4800 V5 Intel Xeon E5-2600/4600 V6 Intel Xeon E7-8800/4800 V6
Family Branding Broadwell-EP Broadwell-EX Skylake-EP Skylake-EX Cannonlake-EP Cannonlake-EX
Process Node 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 10nm 10nm
Xeon Platform Intel Grantley Intel Brickland Intel Purely Intel Purely Intel Purley Intel Purley
PCH C610 Series C602J Series Lewisburg PCH Lewisburg PCH Lewisburg PCH Lewisburg PCH
Socket Socket R3 Socket R1 Socket P Socket P Socket P Socket P
Omni-Path (Interconnect) N/A N/A Storm Lake Gen1 Storm Lake Gen1 Storm Lake Gen1 Storm Lake Gen1
Max Core Count 22 24 26 28 30-32? 32-34?
Max Thread Count 44 48 52 56 60-64? 64-68?
Max L3 Cache 55 MB 60 MB 65 MB 70 MB 75-80? 80-85?
Max PCI-Express Lanes 40 PCI-E Gen3 32 PCI-E Gen3 48 PCI-E Gen3 48 PCI-E Gen3 >48 PCI-E Gen3 >48 PCI-E Gen3
DDR4 Memory Support 4-Channel DDR4 4-Channel DDR4 6-Channel DDR4 6-Channel DDR4 6-Channel DDR4 6-Channel DDR4
TDP Range 55-145W 115-165W 45-160W 110-160W 45-160W 110-160W
Launch Expected Q1 2016 Q2 2016 1H 2017 2017 2018 2018