We reported earlier this week on a rumor which claims that Intel's next top-end enthusiast processor will pack an impressive 10 cores, along with a healthy 25MB of L3 cache. Unlike most enthusiast launches we've seen from Intel over the past few years, Broadwell-E will be special in that there will be four models to choose from; the "smallest" being a six-core chip clocked at 3.4GHz.
Today, we get to peer into other plans Intel has for the coming year, including what we'll be seeing on the mainstream side. Earlier this summer, Intel released its long-overdue Broadwell desktop processors, which were the 14nm die shrink of Haswell. In September, the company followed-up with Skylake, also a 14nm family, which among other things brought DDR4 support to the mainstream.
In the middle of Q4 2016, Intel will follow-up to these Skylake processors with Kaby Lake, yet another 14nm release that's a bit odd, for a couple of reasons. The big one is the fact that this chip wouldn't have happened if Intel's schedule kept on track. Originally, Cannonlake was set to succeed Skylake, but will instead launch in 2017. That makes Kaby Lake neither a tick nor tock in Intel's release cadence.
When released, Kaby Lake will add native USB 3.1 and HDCP 2.2 support. It's uncertain whether these chips will fit into current Z170-based motherboards, but considering the fact that there's also a brand-new chipset en route for the same launch period, we're not too confident of it. However, the so-called Intel 200 series chipsets will be backwards-compatible with Skylake. Another notable feature is that it appears that PCIe 3.0 lanes will be increased to 24, from 20.
It also appears that Intel will be releasing Apollo Lake as early as the late spring, which will replace Braswell, the lowest-powered chips Intel's lineup destined for smartphones. Apollo Lake will be able to scale up to 10W, whereas Braswell was locked at 6W.
Overall, there's some good stuff coming from Intel; it's only a pity that the tastiest stuff is still a ways away!