Intel Launches Broadwell Desktop At Last
Samuel Wan / 2 years ago
Delayed so long that rumors were spreading that there would never be a desktop launch, Intel has at last launched Broadwell for the desktop. The meant to follow the Haswell Tock, Broadwell was aimed at improving efficiency, quite minor tweaks and a move to the 14nm process. The complexity of 14nm production caused Broadwell to be severely delayed, with only Core-M, a mobile variant, being released last year. Desktop users had to make do with Haswell-Refresh but no more.
While there are mobile Broadwell chips launching today, the focus is on the 5 desktop CPUs. There are the i5-5575R, i5-5675R, i5-5675C, i7-5775R, and i7-5775C. All 5 processors are compatible with Z97 and H97 motherboards. However, with the exception of the C processors, they are all BGA chips, meaning they come soldered directly onto the motherboard. This means the R chips, like the 4770R before, will likely only be sold by OEMs or as part of a motherboard bundle. The C chips being unlocked (C is the new K), are LGA and the standard BIOS update for your motherboard should suffice.
The biggest change is for the frist time, Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, in this case, HD6200, are being sold with an LGA and overclockable SKU. While most users getting an unlocked chip tend to use dGPU, the addition of a strong iGPU is good for cases where you need to do an RMA or the dGPU croaks. More importantly, Iris Pro graphics means the chip comes with Crystal well, a 128MB eDRAM that acts like L4 cache. This fast low latency memory can provide a boost to single threaded performance that many might be interested in.
Broadwell on desktop, despite being unlocked and with an eDRAM cache, may face a cold reception. Skylake, Intel’s next Tock with a new architecture, is set to release later this year. With its replacement on its way o soon, Broadwell may have a tough time convincing consumers it’s a viable choice. Maybe Intel may ver well surprise us by holding Skylake desktop back, or maybe it’ll refrain from offering eDRAM on the i7 6700K? The issue becomes dicier as Broadwell desktop is only set for public availability near the end of the month.