The next twelve months are set to be exciting times for the desktop space for Intel. While the current fifth generation mobile processors are coming to market, and the sixth generation being talked about in hushed tones, Intel demonstrated a PC that was listed as having a Broadwell desktop part (Broadwell-DT). The interesting culmination of factors surrounding this part is that it was listed as being socketed, unlocked and containing Iris Pro internal graphics.

The key elements here include the CPU being socketed (replaceable), unlocked (overclockable) and having Iris Pro, or Intel’s extended eDRAM segmentation usually under the Crystal Well name but with the much improved Generation 8 graphics architecture. While we have heard that an unlocked Iris Pro has been coming to desktop since March last year, very few details were given at the time, and the news today at least puts a TDP on such a part: 65W. Normally the high end SKUs from Intel are 77W to 85W, suggesting that this component may not in actual fact be an i7, or it could be an Iris Pro part but using one of the low power monikers such as ‘S’.

Image from Intel

The news also puts on a more firm date, so rather than ‘2015’ we get ‘mid-2015’, which puts it within the May to September timeframe. There are two important events occurring between those dates -  Computex in June and the Intel Developer Forum in August, suggesting that Intel may aim for one of these events to have a formal launch.

Despite the launch of 14nm on the desktop, there has been recent talk of Intel’s next architecture, Skylake, also occurring within the year. This puts Intel in an interesting dynamic of releasing two different platforms for desktop within the same year. One could speculate and suggest that these will synergistically work in tandem, with Skylake-DT taking a segment and Broadwell-DT taking another segment. Where mobile fits into all this as well is difficult to tell, especially given the launch of Broadwell-U and Core-M within the past few months.

As much as we would like more information, it seems that the only thing we can tell is that the motherboard being used looks like an EVGA design due to the right angled power connector. Intel is also stating that the Iris Pro model will be great for all-in-ones (no argument there) which could also feature its RealSense camera, enhancing compute power and interactivity. It would be interesting if a socketed Iris Pro was truly aimed at the AIO market, but then such a SKU would not need to be unlocked. Unlocking for the purposes of overclocking is naturally aimed at the desktop market, although usually for gamers with discrete GPUs rather than Iris Pro.

Naturally we want to get our hands on a sample for review. Ryan is at GDC this week so if he gets a chance to spend a few minutes with the system it would be interesting to hear what they actually represented in the demo as well as more information about the system itself.

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  • Kutark - Sunday, March 8, 2015 - link

    PC gaming is an asbolutely massive market, until that market dies, Intel will ALWAYS build high performance record breaking CPU's. What you're also not accounting for is the server market. They tried the low power thing there and found out that high end CPU's completed the task faster and got back to a low power idle state faster and ultimately used significantly less power than the "low power" part.

    So even if they stopped "focusing" on the high end desktop/gaming market for CPU's, they will still be pushing the envelope in the server market, and a lot of that R&D can be easily translated into the desktop market.

    Saying we won't see a record breaking CPU in our lifetimes is the height of absurdity.
  • patrickjp93 - Saturday, March 7, 2015 - link

    AMD hasn't been pushing clocks either, and neither of them can. Heat grows quadratically or even worse with clock increases. Software just needs to catch up to new instruction sets which do more parallel work in the same clocks.

    You say iGPU is a waste now, but with Nvidia's PhysX engine now going open-source, what would you say to letting the iGPU do the physics calculations and let the big iron handle the rendering and texture painting? Synergy is the name of Intel's game, though it's more focused on compute performance to fight off the Zen APUs and HSA.
  • Kutark - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    I agree, if we're talking strictly pushing stupidly high clock speeds, yes, i don't think there will be much if any focus on that. But faster is faster, whether they acheive that through better parallelism, new instruction sets, etc etc, the end result is the same. If a 4ghz chip can do 20% more work than the previous generation at the same 4ghz then i could care less what the number is, just how it performs.

    That being said, i do still believe we've got a healthy period of time where intel will continue focusing on making monster fast chips (not necessarily high clock rate). The idea that they will abandon the high end desktop market is ludicrous at this point. Even if its only 10% of their sales, thats still billions of dollars a year, and noway they're spending billions of dollars on R&D for that segment (i.e. there is still profit to be had in that segment).
  • Vayra - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - link

    I think the advances in gaming are coming from different angles than just increasing CPU performance really.

    The current bottleneck for gaming has been identified and is being handled with Dx12, the upcoming bottleneck for gaming (memory bandwidth) will be handled by stacked DRAM.
  • bryanb - Thursday, March 5, 2015 - link

    You'll still need to wait for Skylake for 4K@60fps (3840x2160). All the Broadwell parts to date have been limited to 30fps at that resolution.
  • p1esk - Thursday, March 5, 2015 - link

    Haswell does 4k@60Hz just fine.
  • Novacius - Thursday, March 5, 2015 - link

    Only with DP, but not with HDMI.
  • p1esk - Thursday, March 5, 2015 - link

    Every decent 4k monitor has DP. As do all decent Haswell laptops/mobos.
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    And my Ivy Bridge laptop mobo.
  • zepi - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - link

    Almost no TV's have DP and it doesn't seem that likely to change in the near future.

    60FPS/Hz content is coming more and more common (sport broadcasts etc), so there is definitely a need to drive TV's at 4K@60Hz, especially for HTPC users.

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