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Intel unveils eight-core Haswell-E CPU

generic chip

By Darien Graham-Smith

Posted on 29 Aug 2014 at 17:00

Intel has unveiled its new “enthusiast-class” range of processors, including its first eight-core desktop processor, with support for DDR4.

The Haswell-E family comprises three chips, namely the six-core Core i7-5820K and 5930K, equipped with 12MB and 15MB of L3 cache respectively, plus the eight-core, 20MB 5960X Extreme Edition.

Internally, they’re based on the 22nm Haswell design, even though their model numbers place them nominally in Intel’s fifth-generation family, alongside as-yet unreleased 14nm Broadwell processors. As usual with E-class chips, there’s Hyper-Threading, to allow each CPU core to service two threads at once, but no on-board GPU.

The launch follows the arrival last month of the 4GHz “Devil’s Canyon” Core i7-4790K chip, the current flagship of the Haswell desktop range. With its four cores, 8MB of cache and DDR3 support, however, that chip can’t match the processing throughput of Haswell-E – and its 88W TDP points to a less ambitious role than the quoted 140W power ceiling of the new models.

On paper, the 4790K might seem to have a single-threaded advantage in its 4GHz base clock: the 5960X has a conservative base frequency of 3GHz, and a maximum Turbo frequency of 3.5GHz. The 5930K and 5820K come with faster clocks of 3.5GHz / 4GHz Turbo and 3.3GHz / 3.8GHz Turbo respectively – but since all of these chips are fully unlocked, it remains to be seen what sort of performance can really be achieved.

It’s also worth noting that Haswell-E supports up to 40 PCI-Express 3 lanes (the i7-5820K is limited to 28), whereas the Devil’s Canyon model supports a maximum of 16.

Retail pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the Core i7-5960X will sell for a steep $999 per chip wholesale, with the 5930K and 5820K coming in at $583 and $389 respectively.

Since the Core i7-4790K currently sells for around £240, that low-end Haswell-E processor might make an interesting alternative for those in search of raw processing power – although in addition to the cost of a GPU, you’ll have to factor in a premium motherboard based on the X99 chipset and using Haswell-E’s new LGA 2011-3 socket.

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User comments

Almost boring

In the early days of PC Pro there were tens of thousands of enthusiasts always waiting for the next big thing to make PC's faster. Now even graphics card and SSD improvements provide marginal improvements beyond most peoples needs.

By milliganp on 30 Aug 2014

@milliganp

So true.

I think that's the main reason why PC Pro is struggling and has lost its way - there simply isn't that much to say about either hardware or software for the vast majority of users.

By qpw3141 on 1 Sep 2014

@milliganp

Agreed. It always used to be that every few years you'd upgrade and receive a sizeable performance boost as a result. Those days have pretty much gone recently.

Tom's Hardware has an interesting "hierarchy" chart which bands CPUs together into performance groups. According to them, my last upgrade (Athlon X2 4600+ to Core i5 750) resulted in a performance jump of 7 CPU bands. My current CPU though is still classified as band 3 on their site - despite being nearly 5 years old. Hence it's just not worth replacing as it's still a capable performer.

By Trippynet on 1 Sep 2014

The solution:

- Travel back a decade in time and terminate the management of AMD, replacing them with people with more of a clue (such as lollipop ladies, hairdressers or Mr Blobby) so that AMD continued to provide stiff competition

- Massive bribes to Microsoft to make sure each new version of Windows needs new hardware, just like in the good old days.

- Introduce a revolutionary battery revolutionary so there's no need to focus investment on low power.

By Mark_Thompson on 1 Sep 2014

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