Intel Broadwell-E Targets Gamers, Smokes Haswell-E Across The Board
With blue skies and warmer weather on its way, it's hard to not get excited for summer. We just saw NVIDIA launch its latest mid-range GPU, the GeForce GTX 1070, and we know that AMD's Polaris will be shown off soon as well.
Those launches alone are huge, but Intel wasn't about to be drowned out by them. At Computex, the company finally took the veil off of its latest enthusiast processors built on the Broadwell-E microarchitecture.
If you're interested in getting the nitty gritty on all of what Broadwell-E brings to the table, we'd encourage you to read through Marco's excellent write-up, where he doesn't just talk about the new chips, but new motherboards and DDR4 memory that have been released to complement it.
Long before the official announcement of Broadwell-E's release, rumor had it that this launch would focus a lot on gaming - and it does. However, it's important to note that Intel doesn't necessarily point to the new Core i7-6950X as being the de facto choice, which is great, as its $1723 price tag is going to deter many.
Fortunately, that chip in particular, with its 10 cores and 20 threads, isn't what we'd call an ultimate "gaming" chip, but instead an ultimate content creation chip. With a CPU this massive, it goes without saying that someone's GPU configuration would match - which we suppose could make it an ultimate gaming rig.
For gaming, which is almost always more reliant on single-threaded performance more than multi-threaded, the i7-6950X's 3.2GHz clock speed might seem a bit weak. While Turbo Boost 3.0 does help bring single-thread performance parity with the mainstream Skylake chips, there's a quick fix to make sure it just simply isn't an issue: overclocking.
Without too much fuss, Marco was able to push the chip to a healthy 4.3GHz, although he notes that a very good thermal solution is going to be needed for that. 10 cores in one CPU at high frequencies? You get the picture.
Further down the pricing ladder, the i7-6850K is extremely tasty on paper. It's a 6-core chip clocked at 3.60GHz stock, which we'd guess could clock even higher than the 6950X thanks to its lower core count.
Thankfully, the i7-6850K still offers a full 40 PCIe lanes like the top-dog, so even though the chip costs much less, at $617 (to retailers), it won't hold back your gaming in any possible way - unless you're playing a title that happens to take advantage of more than 6 cores (if there's one, we'd like to know about it!).
Overall, this launch might only target high-end enthusiasts, but it's an exciting one nonetheless. To see a 10-core option on the desktop side at all is very impressive, despite its super-high price.