It’s been a bad week for Intel, what with two processors being tested and listed online, as well as a third having been sold on eBay before anyone had the chance to notice it was there. Intel is gearing up for a launch of their next family of CPUs on both the desktop consumer and high-end desktop markets, codenamed Kaby Lake and Broadwell-E respectively. Kaby Lake is the successor to Skylake, and Broadwell-E will likely be the last chip family on the X99 platform before Intel makes a socket and chipset change in 2017.
The first leak was the Kaby Lake benchmarks, which were done on the upcoming Core i7-7700K. According to the SiSoft SANDRA benchmarks, the Core i7-7700K is a quad-core, hyper-threaded processor made on Intel’s 14nm Tri-gate process, and the engineering sample had a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4.2GHz. It’s interesting to note that the benchmarks were done on an Intel motherboard and not one from their partners, suggesting that this leak came from someone either inside Intel, or someone affiliated with the company tasked with testing the platform. Kaby Lake is probably very, very far from a launch at this moment.
Kaby Lake is expected to launch later this year, accompanied by a chipset update to allow consumers to take advantage of much faster storage options as well as USB 3.1 Type C outputs. Intel has confirmed that Kaby Lake processors will work in boards originally intended for Skylake processors, and a simple BIOS update will be all that is needed. Aside from minor performance improvements, the most we can expect from this refresh is a more flexible chipset, and a more mature memory controller.
The other leak was Intel’s upcoming Core i7-6850K, a six-core, twelve threaded processor that should replace the Core i7-5820K at the same price point. This chip seems to be clocked at 3.6GHz with a possible boost clock of about 3.9GHz, along with the standard 140W TDP associated with these chips. Although it does see a 300MHz increase over the Core i7-5820K, the chip only delivers a performance boost of around 10%, which is in line with the performance increases from Haswell to Broadwell on the desktop socket.
Intel is expected to launch Broadwell-E at Computex 2016, and Kaby Lake is anticipated a few months after that, possibly in September. It’s shaping up to be a great year for hardware, and we’ll have new GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA, and possibly AMD’s upcoming Zen to play with before 2016 is over.