Computex 2017 is here, Intel’s gunning for AMD’s Ryzen with new Core i9 CPUs. HP, Lenovo, and Asus are building Snapdragon-powered Windows machines, AMD’s RX Vega is pushed to late July, and check out the new 200mHz G-Sync Ultrawide gaming monitor from Asus. All that and more on This Week in Computer Hardware.
AMD announces Ryzen 5 CPUs… lots of cores for not much cash! Thinking about a new TV? Robert Heron joins us to talk up the latest from LG, Samsung, and Sony. Headphones burst into flames, tuning the Ryzen 7 for best performance, all the 1080Ti GPUs are sold, and are we going from Lithium batteries to glass batteries?!? Tons of hardware news in this week’s TWiCH!
Intel has delayed the production of their next-generation ‘Broadwell’ chips until the first quarter of 2014, following defect density issues affecting the processor’s yield. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, mentioned that when defects are discovered in CPUs, a set of fixes are inserted; however the fixes for the issues didn’t initially deliver the improvements that were anticipated.
The issues, which according to Krzanich have been fixed, pushed the production of Broadwell back a quarter, from Q4 2013 to Q1 2014. He said that PC customers have a “strong desire to get Broadwell to market”, adding that this “is a small blip in the schedule” while also mentioning that Broadwell’s successor ‘Skylake’ hasn’t been delayed as a result.
Broadwell is a ‘Tick’ in Intel’s ‘Tick-Tock’ philosophy, meaning it’s a shrink of the current CPU microarchitecture (‘Haswell’) to a new manufacturing process (14nm). Intel is the first company to produce chips at 14nm, which will bring a range of improvements to power efficiency and performance.
Leaked roadmaps have always placed the release of Broadwell in 2014 sometime, with the first batch of production scheduled to occur in late 2013 before the delays occurred. Generally speaking it takes Intel six months from the start of mass production to get the chips out on the market, which would place Broadwell’s release in Q3 2014, factoring in the one quarter delay.
It’s rumored that Intel will only release Broadwell-based mobile parts on the BGA platform in 2014, with traditional LGA desktop parts being covered by a Haswell refresh. At this stage it’s unclear whether we’ll see Broadwell in desktop parts in 2014, or at any stage for that matter, but stay tuned in the coming months as more information trickles out.
Qualcomm has joined the likes of Nokia and Intel in raining on the proverbial multi-core processor parade. During a recent chat with Taiwan media, Qualcomm senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher said eight-core processors like the new chips recently announced are flat out “dumb.”
The executive suggested that adding more cores was like trying to take eight lawnmower engines, putting them together and claiming you have an eight cylinder Ferrari engine. It just doesn’t make sense, he quipped.
Instead, Chandrasekher said his company focuses on giving consumers a good experience which requires a good modem, long battery life and an affordable price point (in that order). Adding more cores into the equation is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks, he concluded.
The remarks come just days after – and in response to – an announcement from rival MediaTek that they have developed a true octa-core ARM processor. You may recall that Samsung also has an octa-core processor known as the Exynos 5 Octa. That chip, however, isn’t a true eight-core setup as it uses ARM’s big.LITTLE configuration in which only four cores are ever active at any given time.
MediaTek insists their octa-core processor, scheduled to arrive during the fourth quarter of this year, enables enhanced multi-tasking capabilities that will greatly improve the experience of users’ applications. The company also says the configuration will help reduce the chip’s overall power consumption which could go a long way in proving battery life.
While some of us might be happy to have the latest Haswell chips inside our laptops, enthusiasts out there might not be so impressed. But there’s some really good news from Intel regarding plans for next year.
A supposedly leaked slide from an Intel presentation points towards the company’s plans for their E-line of chips. The E line is focused on power and performance and it consists of some of the most powerful desktop CPUs.
According to this slide, Intel is planning to release an 8-core Haswell CPU somewhere in the second half of 2014. If this proves true this would be the first 8-core Desktop CPU from Intel.
The Haswell-E product will probably be based on a second iteration of the Haswell architecture due out next year. The new chip could offer up to 20MB L3 cache, support for DDR4 and, of course, 16 threads thanks to its hyperthreading technology.
There’s no clear indication about what the performance of such as chip would be but speculation puts it at between 30-50% above this year’s Ivy Bridge-E processor.
A leaked roadmap picked up by VR-Zone suggests Intel’s Broadwell won’t be shipping any time soon. The desktop timeline, which just barely slips into the beginning of 2015, doesn’t even mention Broadwell. Additionally, Broadwell’s absence on a previously leaked roadmap possibly extends this absence even further — well into the first-half of 2015. So, what happened to Broadwell?
We’re currently in the midst of Intel’s Haswell awakening as manufacturers announced various Haswell-equipped PCs and laptops. Although fourth-gen CPUs based on Haswell’s 22nm architecture don’t seem to offer much of a CPU performance bump, Intel has made definite gains in integrated graphics performance and overall power consumption.
Broadwell is expected to be a “tick” in Intel’s tick-tock release cycle, which means we’ll likely see a die-shrink (14nm) and little else. As such, some suppose the “Haswell Refresh” (which is due later in 2014) may actually be Broadwell — this may make some sense given that Skylake is purportedly due in early 2015. Skylake is expected to be the “tock” to Broadwell’s “tick”. Lending some additional credence to this thinking is Intel’s 9-series chipset. The new platform was originally planned to accompany the launch of Broadwell but it now appears to be aligned with the Haswell refresh instead. So, Haswell refresh = Broadwell? Maybe…
VR-Zone’s “Computex sources” claim though that Broadwell won’t appear on desktop systems until the second half of 2015. If that’s true, Haswell should reign supreme in the mainstream space for quite some time. Broadwell could always appear beforehand though, in some non-desktop form. A rumor indicating Broadwell will be soldered onto motherboards carries with some implication of its use inside portable and special form factor computers, if not just for low-end PCs as rumored.
Also, Ivy Bridge will be gaining 130W-140W LGA2011 “E” variant later this year, intended to cater to the high-performance market. Meanwhile, a Haswell-E part isn’t due until the latter half of 2014 perhaps encouraging enthusiasts to hold onto their third-gen Intel CPUs for an uncharacteristically long period time.