So next year we’re getting a new socket and a new Intel architecture. I’ll be delving deeper into what Haswell brings to us in the new year but for now, know that socket LGA 1155 is now a dead end – the Core i7 3770K is the highest mainstream chip you’ll be able to buy for the platform. Along with Haswell, there’ll be an update to LGA2011 with a new family of Ivy Bridge-E chips, but we’ll have more on that later. For now, lets have a quick peek at next year’s lineup.
First things first, there’s only two unlocked chips in the family – the Core i5-4670K and the i7-4770K. Both sport a low 84W TDP, HD4600 graphics and a dual-channel memory controller. The i7 still sports four cores and an extra four threads and the i7 family even scales down to a fantastic 35 watt TDP – I can see some HTPC users entertaining the thought of running one of these.
The Core i5 family is still a vanilla quad-core design. The pick of the lot, if you’re one of the people who bought a Z77 board and simply ramped up the default clock on a locked processor, is the i5-4670. Although, given the relatively small cost to move to the multiplier-unlocked K-series chip, its up to the cheaper i5-4570 and the i5-4570S to pick up the pieces of the value-seeking buyers market. For both chip families, there shouldn’t be any change in retail pricing at launch compared to Ivy Bridge.
At first glance, it only looks like a minor change overall but the drop in TDP may indicate one new change that hasn’t been broadcast widely. At its release, all of the internet went bezerk because Intel chose to use a cheaper TIM paste under the heatsink. The drop in TDP won’t entirely be from a new process (it could certainly be from Intel optimising its 3D layered process), but will also result from a better heat sink design and possibly better thermal paste or solder to aid in heat transfer. That’s good news for overclockers and if Haswell can clock up things as well as Sandy and Ivy Bridge could, it’s going to be a killer in the enthusiast desktop market.
Who will buy it? Likely the chaps still using chips from the Core 2 Duo and AMD Athlon and Phenom II families. Even the high-end Core i7 chips have a markedly lower power use than the triple-core Athlon X3 445 I’m sitting on and it delivers a lot more performance for the money. Those of you stuck on the LGA1156 train would be well-served by moving to Haswell, seeing as the new socket should last for another two years. Nehalem users? Maybe you’ll be tempted, but I’m guessing that the extra memory channel and the more flexible PCI-Express configuration that X58 boards are capable of will keep you tethered for another year, at least. You’ll move to Ivy Bridge-E anyway when the time comes.
In any case, its going to be an interesting year for the enthusiasts and gamers across the world. In addition to Haswell, we’re also going to see the Radeon HD8000 family and a Kepler refresh from Nvidia. And I’ll be bringing it all to NAG Online, provided my eyes don’t go square before then from all this reading!
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