With the new year just weeks away new information regarding Intel’s plans for 2016 has started appearing online and there are several things that are worth discussing.
First Intel will release the new Broadwell-E family in H2 2016 and not in H1 2016 as previously expected. The new chips will be made on 14 nm and will feature more cores and higher performance compared to the current Haswell-E generation. The leader in the pack will be the Core i7-6950X, which will be Intel’s first desktop processor with 10 cores inside. The good news here is that the new processors will function in X99-based motherboards so owners of Haswell-E systems won’t have to upgrade to get the benefits of Broadwell-E.
Unfortunately mainstream desktop PC users may be disappointed somewhat. Clearly in the past few years Intel hasn’t been offering leaps in performance due to weak competition from AMD and it seems that this trend will continue in 2016. The rumored Kaby Lake processors, which will succeed Skylake will only arrive in Q4 2016, which is a full year from now and they will bring some performance improvements compared to Skylake but do not expect anything great. Fortunately Kaby Lake chips will be LGA 1151 compatible so they may work in Intel 100-series chipset motherboards, although the new generation will come with a new Intel 200-series chipsets. The new chipsets will bring increased flexibility and more performance. Thus the number of PCI-E 3.0 lanes will increase to 24 from 20 lanes on the 100-series. The 200-series chipsets will also support up to ten USB 3.0 ports, Intel Optane technology, Intel RST PCI-E storage x4 Gen3 and Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15.
As to the almost forgotten 14 nm Broadwell generation – these chips will continue to exist until the end of 2016 when a beefed up version of Skylake will appear. The new Skylake chips will be known as Skylake-S and will have a significantly improved graphics core that will feature 72 execution units and 128 MB of L4 cache. The TDP of the new chips will stay at 65W, which is nice and as expected the new Skylake processors will run in LGA 1151 motherboards. Celeron chips on the Skylake architecture will be on the market in December of this year.
The ultra low end of the market will see the release of the new Apollo Lake processors – they will replace the current Braswell chips and will have two or four cores packed in BGA packages. The TDP of the new chips will be between 6W and 10W and they will be used in low-power machines.
Well, the new Intel road map does not look that bad but new performance levels may not be achieved next year, save for the new Broadwell-E processors, which is sad. Let’s hope AMD’s Zen chip is successful – we truly miss the CPU wars of some years ago.