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Intel shows off next-gen desktop CPUs, Ready Mode tech

  • Trying to cater to enthusiasts, Intel (INTC +1.9%) promises its next-gen (14nm) Broadwell CPU line will include unlocked (i.e. overclocking-capable) desktop parts that feature integrated Iris Pro GPUs (previous). The chip giant had disappointed enthusiasts last year by failing to offer unlocked Haswell CPUs with Iris Pro.
  • Intel is also providing details about two upcoming Haswell-based enthusiast offerings: Devil's Canyon (due in mid-2014), which offers a better thermal interface material and packaging, and an Extreme Edition CPU (due in 2H) that will be the company's first desktop part to support 8 cores and the DDR4 memory standard.
  • For mainstream users, Intel has unveiled Ready Mode, a standby-mode solution for PCs that syncs files and enables home streaming while drawing less than 5W of power. The company is providing new form factors/reference designs for OEMs, including ones for a small-form-factor gaming system and a portable (battery-backed) all-in-one PC.
  • IDC sees global desktop shipments falling another 6% this year to 129.1M, with declines in both developed and emerging markets. But as Nvidia and Logitech can vouch, the enthusiast/gaming segment has been holding up relatively well.
Comments (7)
  • MattZN2
    , contributor
    Comments (674) | Send Message
    I think these news releases are quite deceiving. Lets rip this one apart just for fun.


    Next-gen cpu - the only 'real' part of this announcement is a consumer cpu with 8 cores (16 threads). Of course, nobody really needs 8 cores on a consumer machine apart from a few die-hard gamers. Consumer machines are already seriously over-powered for what people do on them, even for 95% of gamers.


    Unlocked clock - used to matter because with older fab processes one could significant boost the clock frequency with only additional cooling. But the last two generations already boost the clock frequency internally and have much, MUCH tighter tolerances. Even unlocked, only minor tweaks can be made to boost them more. So announcing that a cpu will have an unlocked PLL is irrelevant.


    Ready-mode - Always best to simply ignore *ALL* Intel software announcements. They're complete garbage. You can draw 5W *right* *now* on consumer Haswell cpus without 'ready-mode' with a few operating-system-contr... tweaks (we're talking consume / server class here, not mobile cpu's which already draw less). In fact, the cpu itself makes this trivially possible and other parts of the motherboard need only be shut-off. There's no 'meat' here. It doesn't take sophisticated software to accomplish this. The sad fact is that downloads and video streaming don't actually need much cpu to run. Literally you can ramp the cpu frequency down from 4 GHz to 500MHz and it will still be able to play video perfectly well.


    So basically all this devolves down to Intel providing an expected and obvious improvement in desktop cpu technology that consumers don't actually need and more likely than not wouldn't even notice because their desktops already run fast.


    20 Mar, 05:12 PM Reply Like
  • Just Some Guy
    , contributor
    Comments (354) | Send Message
    Regarding the 8-core, Microsoft has made the (very unwise) move to charge by the core in new SQL Server licenses, lord love a duck if they decide to do that for workstations!


    I agree with you on the unclocked, good luck to anyone using that.


    The "ready mode" is perhaps interesting if not *really* news, as you describe, but if it just reflects a new sensitivity by Intel to lower-power operations and modes, and if they start supporting that in what Microsoft and others do on the platform, that could be a good thing.


    If they could just for the love of pete get the integrated graphics performance up to snuff, or else get it the heck off the processor chips, either or both of those would be welcome news.
    20 Mar, 08:21 PM Reply Like
  • trader_xx
    , contributor
    Comments (813) | Send Message
    Matt you're right....INTC is grasping at straws...I wonder how much they are going to try and gouge consumers for these stinking things....
    20 Mar, 07:24 PM Reply Like
  • MattZN2
    , contributor
    Comments (674) | Send Message
    Not sure I would characterize it as gouging. Consumers don't have to buy the high-end cpu's, and most don't. Intel's 'low end' consumer cpus are immensely powerful and AMD is completely non-competitive on performance/watt (and has been for years) across the entire line.


    Intel does nickel-and-dime features a little too much for my taste. For example, the 32GB memory limit on their E3's, and their use of various mixtures of ECC support, memory limits, virtualization support, and AESNI (encryption), threads, and other features to price-gate their product line.


    But for the most part people who need the features don't mind paying the extra $$ for them. The price differentials are recouped very quickly just on power costs and the cpus are powerful enough that the commerce-related profit outweighs the price of the server by several orders of magnitude. So, particularly in the server space, performance and power efficiency vastly trumps the fixed price of the cpu.


    21 Mar, 06:19 PM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3338) | Send Message
    As mentioned in the text no less than twice these are enthusiast cpus and they'll know what they're buying. These are NOT skus targeted at general consumers.


    I have no idea what Matt's complaint is, other than he appears to believe Intel should be secretive about these enthusiast skus and not release info on them. Only the third bullet is relevant to mainstream users, as is clearly stated there.
    26 Mar, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3338) | Send Message
    Sorry, make that six enthusiast and gaming mentions in three bullets. It's pretty clear to whom this info is relevant.
    26 Mar, 01:17 PM Reply Like
  • Toby Robb
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
    Granted most consumers do not need these features, but then again it has been established that most consumers are not buying desktop pc's anymore either.


    For those of us who do actually need powerful pcs for our work, progress is welcome; although I agree that the integrated GPU seems to be a solution searching for a market.
    24 Mar, 03:17 PM Reply Like
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