Intel unveils eight-core Haswell-E CPU

Haswell-E chip is Intel's first eight-core desktop processor

Darien Graham-Smith
29 Aug 2014

Intel has unveiled its new “enthusiast-class” range of processors, including its first eight-core desktop processor, with support for DDR4.

The Haswell-E family comprises three chips, namely the six-core Core i7-5820K and 5930K, equipped with 12MB and 15MB of L3 cache respectively, plus the eight-core, 20MB 5960X Extreme Edition.

Internally, they’re based on the 22nm Haswell design, even though their model numbers place them nominally in Intel’s fifth-generation family, alongside as-yet unreleased 14nm Broadwell processors. As usual with E-class chips, there’s Hyper-Threading, to allow each CPU core to service two threads at once, but no on-board GPU.

The launch follows the arrival last month of the 4GHz “Devil’s Canyon” Core i7-4790K chip, the current flagship of the Haswell desktop range. With its four cores, 8MB of cache and DDR3 support, however, that chip can’t match the processing throughput of Haswell-E – and its 88W TDP points to a less ambitious role than the quoted 140W power ceiling of the new models.

On paper, the 4790K might seem to have a single-threaded advantage in its 4GHz base clock: the 5960X has a conservative base frequency of 3GHz, and a maximum Turbo frequency of 3.5GHz. The 5930K and 5820K come with faster clocks of 3.5GHz / 4GHz Turbo and 3.3GHz / 3.8GHz Turbo respectively – but since all of these chips are fully unlocked, it remains to be seen what sort of performance can really be achieved.

It’s also worth noting that Haswell-E supports up to 40 PCI-Express 3 lanes (the i7-5820K is limited to 28), whereas the Devil’s Canyon model supports a maximum of 16.

Retail pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the Core i7-5960X will sell for a steep $999 per chip wholesale, with the 5930K and 5820K coming in at $583 and $389 respectively.

Since the Core i7-4790K currently sells for around £240, that low-end Haswell-E processor might make an interesting alternative for those in search of raw processing power – although in addition to the cost of a GPU, you’ll have to factor in a premium motherboard based on the X99 chipset and using Haswell-E’s new LGA 2011-3 socket.

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