Intel launches 18-core Xeon monster, Skylake arriving Q3 2015

Those of you who have waited for Intel to make the first move before planning your next gaming rig and breathe a sigh of relief. The Santa Ana chipmaker has finally revealed its Intel Skylake-S roadmap, which will see a slew of new 14nm desktop processors hit the market.

But while this is all beautiful vistas gazing towards the future, Intel hasn’t forgotten about its enterprise, server and workstation crowd. It has launched a new Xeon processor family, branded as E7-8800 & E7-4800 v3, based on the Haswell-EX core.

The flagship E7-8800 is a behemoth, boasting 18 cores clocked at 2.5GHz, 36 processing threads and 45MB of L3 cache. This helps the CPU achieve a 40% performance boost over the outgoing Xeon flagship. And as for the price? You’re looking at around US$7100 for one. It’s not too bad though, considering that this Intel Xeon could probably restart the planet should it grind to a halt.

And that’s not all in what has become a bumper Intel news week.

Skylake finally announced

The company is bringing around ten Skylake-S CPUs to market at launch, which is scheduled for Q3 2015.

Read more: WiGig, Rezence, Skylake aim to kill wired computing and charging by 2016

Although the Intel Broadwell die shrink (marked as a “tick” on the company’s tick-tock cycle) is penned for Q2 2015 with some manufacturers already listing the CPU family’s availability in its plans, we’re a little bit more interested in Skylake (the “tock”, or new architecture), as it will introduce DDR4 support to the mainstream market. This also means the introduction of socket LGA 1151 motherboards.

Nevertheless, the processor options are fairly extensive covering those looking for low-TDPs and enthusiast grade performance with 95w outputs.

Let’s start with the latter.

Eight threads, lots of overclocking headroom

The Intel Core i7-6700K will boast four hyperthreaded cores, 8MB of cache and a healthy 4.2GHz boost clock, with what we imagine should be lots of overclocking headroom thanks to the 14nm die shrink. It will also support DDR4 RAM modules clocked at 2133MHz and will be backwards compatible with existing DDR3 RAM if manufacturers deem it fruitful.

Thanks to the more efficient Skylake architecture, these chips should be quite at home in overclocking builds, but it also means that those with LGA 1150 boards and CPUs can’t make the jump to Skylake without requiring a new motherboard. LGA 1150 9-Series boards (H97, Z97, etc.) will however support Intel’s Broadwell range, so it’s not quite end of life for the Socket H3 crowd just yet.

Of course, Intel Skylake provides some interesting technologies to the mobile crowd as well, with Rezence wireless charging support debuting a little later this year in supported laptops. With a lower TDP, a more efficient design and smaller die, it also means that laptop manufacturers can cram even more hardware into smaller, lighter shells.

Skylake could very well revive the laptop market yet again.



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