Intel 2014 Desktop "Roadmap": Broadwell-K Late 2014?

Subject: General Tech, Processors | October 28, 2013 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, Broadwell-K, Broadwell

Ivy Bridge-E was confirmed for this holiday season and Haswell-E was proclaimed to follow in Holiday 2014 bringing good tidings of comfort and joy (and DDR4). Broadwell, the Haswell architecture transitioned to a 14nm process technology, was expected to be delayed until at least 2015 because it was not on any roadmap before that.

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Image credit: VR-Zone China

Until recently when something called "Broadwell-K" popped up slated for late Holiday 2014.

VR-Zone China, the site which broke this story (machine translated), cautiously assumes Broadwell-K signifies the platform will first arrive for the mainstream enthusiast. This would align with Intel's current "K" branding of unlocked processors and make sense to be introduced for the Consumer product segment without a Business offering.

If true, which seems likely, the question then becomes why. So let us speculate!

One possible (but almost definitely incorrect) reason is that Intel was able to get the overclocking challenges at 22nm solved and, thus, they want to build hype over what the enthusiasts can accomplish. Josh Walrath, our monitor of the fabrication industry's pulse at PC Perspective, did not bother entertaining the idea. His experiences suggest 14nm and 22nm are "not so different".

But, in the same discussion, Ryan wondered if Intel just could not get power low enough to release anything besides the upper mainstream parts. Rather than delay further, release the parts as they can fit in whatever TDP their market demands. Josh believes that is "as good [of a theory] as any". This also seems like a very reasonable possibility to me, too.

Two other theories: yields are sufficient for the "K" market (but nowhere else) or that Intel could be throwing a bone to the mid-range (lower than Haswell-E) enthusiast by letting them lead. It could also be almost any combination of the above or more.

Or, of course, Broadwell-K could refer to something completely arbitrary. At this point, no-one knows but anyone can guess.

So then, your turn? Comments await.

Source: VR-Zone
October 29, 2013 | 10:08 AM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

Okay. I'm game. What makes you think think that there are no challenges to a process shrink? Many of the issues are common Q physics- my take is that I don't care who it is, they are going reach limits that will have to take into account fundamentals of frequency, voltage, etc that will have to be addressed by significant design and process changes.

That said, without an AMD providing a challenge, Intel has no reason to take a dramatic step forward anyhow. They'll be able to exploit premiums from tweaks and more incremental changes.

October 29, 2013 | 05:00 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

I never said there were no challenges to a process shrink?

October 30, 2013 | 08:18 AM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

True- but it wasn't really mentioned either. As already mentioned this is way more than about overclocking and issues. Truth is, as one poster already suggested, Intel may have already hit more than just power issues which are really driving a 2015 release ... if not later. I'm also really not counting on a 5nm process with this sort of architecture ... anytime soon.

But I reiterate- why should Intel care unless AMD has an epiphany?

October 29, 2013 | 09:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The process lead will hit a brick wall for everyone when the cost/return margins make it uprofitable for even Intel to pursue fruther die shrinks! and this cost/return ratio will be the brick wall long before the quantum physical limit ends the process node shrink race! When x86 was the only game in town, and millions of units could be sold to amortize the high R&D costs per design investment, things were rosey for Intel, but the game is now shared with ARM, and to a lesser extent, a few other RISC designs! Pair that market share with AMD, in addition to ARM, and the unit volumne is not going to be there for anyone, sub 10nm process node to justify billions in new equipment/research.
The Tick-Tock stops when the bucks run out!

October 29, 2013 | 11:32 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

And then we develop processors from Photonic Crystal waveguide ICs. : D

October 30, 2013 | 05:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You did not read this post, its not about the physics of getting smaller, it's the cost to bring it to market! Photonic Crystals is past the finincal brick wall that Intel will run into, well before the silicon process technology gets to 5nm and below! Uncle Sam may be the only one with the money to invest in Photonic Crystals and use the technology, but Intel and the others, will find it increasingly difficult to justify spending the billions of $$$$$, that it will require to develop the new process technologies that can be cheeply and profitably used, to justify the added expence! Switching from silicon based economys of scale, which are well understood and relatively cheep, to an untested process technology with questionable process yealds, is very hard for even Intel, or anyone dew to the high costs of chip fabs, and the low yeald rates of any new process technology!

October 31, 2013 | 09:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And this exactly why intel is now committed to fabbing ARM and other designs in its leading edge fabs.

October 30, 2013 | 06:48 AM - Posted by wizpig64 (not verified)

what features do you think the new chipset could bring?

October 30, 2013 | 02:46 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

That was leaked in the source article too. It actually looks to have been a slide or an image from an english Intel presentation of some sort. Since it is not in "machine translated" english we can be reasonably confident of its accuracy.

  • Haswell Refresh / Haswell & Broadwell Processor Support
  • Intel RST for PCI Express Storage
  • Flexible I/O Port Selection
  • High Speed SATA 6Gb/s support for SSD/HDDs
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 13
  • Manageability and Security Features
  • Intel Small Business Advantage
  • Integrated USB 3.0 (with Streams support)
  • Storage Power Savings
  • PCI Express 2.0 at 5GT/s

Of course that does not say much. Example: "Why do they not mention PCI Express 3.0?" I figured some of the RST stuff would be interesting so I forwarded it to Allyn. Not sure if he was able to dig up anything more, though.

October 31, 2013 | 01:51 AM - Posted by wizpig64 (not verified)

Neato, thanks! The only think I can think of now seeing that is the possibility of SATA-express, but i have no idea how far along that is.

October 30, 2013 | 01:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just want x99 to come out with a 6 core processor for £350 then. Then Intel will once again get my money, Unless Amd release something new.

October 30, 2013 | 09:46 PM - Posted by IronMikeAce

I would just assume that they simply are satisfied with the characteristics of their processor and are ready to release (earlier than expected since this wasn't seen before) their product starting with the K-Series like usual. I think, before this, they simply didn't think it would be out in 2014 but now, that more time has passed, they see they are ahead of schedule and are releasing before expected.

I don't think this has anything to do with pushing it to market early or releasing the K-series because they couldn't get power down. Intel simply doesn't need to push products to market and Intel usually starts with the consumer K-series anyway.

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