Intel’s Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition 10-Core Broadwell-E Monster Processor Breaks Cover, 25MB Cache
It's a good thing Intel waited until the weekend to let slip a mention of its forthcoming Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition processor on its website, because had the Santa Clara chip maker jumped the gun, everyone might assume it was an April Fool's Day prank. That's not the case for what we surmise is a mighty 10-core CPU (more on that in a moment).
To be clear, Intel hasn't launched the Core i7-6950X, not yet anyway. But what the company did do is update its support website for its latest Management Engine software, listing the much anticipated Broadwell-E part as a compatible chip. So in that way, you can say Intel confirmed its existence, whether that was intentional or someone on the company's web team jumped the gun
This isn't the first time the Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition made headlines. A Chinese-language website posted various details about Broadwell-E in November of last year, noting at the time that the 6950X would be one of four new processors under Intel's HEDT (High-End Desktop) banner for Broadwell.
We don't know if that still holds true, but what we do know is that the flagship Broadwell-E part will feature a whopping 25MB of L3 cache and a boost clockspeed of 3.5GHz, both of which Intel lists on the aforementioned support page. Since Broadwell has always touted 2.5MB of cache per core, our math tells us this will be a 10-core processor. Toss in Hyper Threading support and you have 20 threads to throw at projects.
As for the base clockspeed, previously leaked details claimed it would run at 3GHz, and given that Intel lists the boost clock at 3.5GHz, a 3GHz base seems highly plausible. In essence, Intel is trading clockspeed for cores—there are faster clocked chips on the market, like the Core i7-6800K (Skylake) that runs at 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz, but the 6950X will be the only 10-core consumer part. That's obviously going to be a big advantage for finely tuned multi-threaded work loads, though enthusiasts will want to see what kind of overclocking performance they can squeeze out of the chip for lazier applications that don't take full advantage of a CPU's resources.
From what we already know about Broadwell-E, the 6950X will be compatible with the current crop of X99 Express chipset motherboards sporting LGA 2011-v3 sockets, though users will likely have to update their BIOS. MSI's already begun rolling out BIOS updates for its X99 boards, and it probably won't be long before others follow suit.
Finally, let's talk price. There's some chatter around the web that the 6950X could debut at $1,500. Perhaps it will, though Intel typically prices its flagship CPUs at around $1,000 to $1,100 at launch. Either way, it's going to be expensive.