Broadwell-E – Intel’s Latest and Greatest CPU
<< Allright guys how’s it going >> Intel has launched the latest and their core i7 extreme edition range codenamed Broadwell-E .Now this is Intel’s HEDT series, their high-end desktop and comprises of the most powerful desktop processors, what’s probably the big news here is that this is Intel’s first 10 core processor for the desktop but before we take a closer look at the features and architecture of the new CPU we’ll take a quick look at how we got here. Intel CPU evolution falls a pattern known as tick-tock ,and this is actually pretty simple, whenever Intel moves on to the next node that is the nanometer(nm) node, for example in the case of Ivy Bridge Intel moved on to 22 nanometers this is known as a “tick” so this was their third generation of their core series of CPUs, following on from Ivy Bridge came Haswell still on 22 nanometers and this was known as the new microarchitecture, what Intel calls their “tock” following on a year we get to the 5th generation Broadwell which was on 14 nanometers and again a “tick” ,so this is a pattern that Intel CPUs have followed for many years now , an update to the architecture followed by an update to the nanometer process , generally speaking you can be looking at 10% improvement in each case , the smaller nanometers sizes allow for faster clock speeds and lower power , where improvements in the architecture allow for higher IPC (instructions per clock) .Now most of you will be aware that Skylake is the latest architecture not Broadwell yet Intel has just launched Broadwell-E the reason for this is simply the way in which they really cpus these days ,they start off with a smaller, more mainstream and performance range on a new architecture before following up with the higher end desktop on the previous architecture so the performance in mainstream is now Skylake and the high-end desktop is Broadwell ,in around about a year’s time the high-end desktop will have evolved on to Skylake, there are one or two good reasons for doing this the first one is of course economics .
When you move on to a new process node that is a “tick”, the economics of the new node are not that good early on, the waffers in which the chips are built have defects ,which means early on in the process you get less good chips on a waffer , and the best way to mitigate this is by using smaller chips , over the following months the process continues to improve and the yields improve to the point where larger chips become much more viable and this is what these extreme edition chips are ,they have a lot more cores and they are generally much larger CPUs another good reason for doing it this way, is that it’s insurance against an issue with the new architecture, for example, if Skylake had some kind of bug or error Intel will still be falling back on Broadwell-E when it comes to the high-end desktop there are other reasons ,for example, a lack of competition because AMD CPUs are nowhere ,means that Intel can basically do whatever they want ,due to having no real CPU competition.
Now moving on to Broadwell itself, on initial release in the performance and mainstream markets Broadwell was not that well received compared to the previous generation i7 and i5 ,it was a pretty peculiar CPU ,we can see from this chart that even though it was on the new 14 nanometer process which normally means higher clock speeds, in this case there was a regression in both the cpu base frequency and the maximum turbo frequency ,compared to the previous generation 4770 k ,which had a cpu base of and the max turbo of ,looking at a TDP number shows why ,with the 5775C having a TDP of only 65 watts compared to 84 watts of the Haswell 4770k the reason for this is that around this time Intel had started to double down on power because simply put performance per watt is much more important these days, but the more that the process was tweaked towards lower power the more difficult the higher clock speeds become ,it did have slightly higher IPC over Haswell as well, which in most cases meant that Broadwell was slightly faster or at least equal to the 4770k, and in many benchmarks ,it seemed to be an pretty decent gamer as well, so it wasn’t a bad cpu by any means it just wasn’t quite what the performance market had been used to and it doesn’t help that Haswell CPUs like the 4790k , with the base clock of 4 GHz had launched earlier, so Broadwell really didn’t set the Earth on fire will Broadwell-E be any different ,well let’s take a closer look at it .
Now i’m just going to take a look at the specs, comparing the incoming Broadwell-E CPUs to the comparative outgoing Haswell-E CPU. The top end Haswell-E i7 5960X is being replaced by the i7 6900k, both CPUs have 8 cores and 16 threads ,due to hyper threading, but staight away we can see that the new Broadwell-E i7 6900k has GHz higher base clock and turbo clock compared to the outgoing 5960x , 20 MB of cache ,is of course the same, the new Broadwells have memory support for up to 2400 MHz ddr4 , Tdp remains the same at 140 watts and we’re looking at 9% increase in price from $999 up to $1089 . We kind of expected to see a small increase in price here but it is good to see that Broadwell-E clock speeds are higher than Haswell-E given what we already saw with the 5775C now if we move onto the middle ones we’re looking at the i7 5930k from Haswell-E and the new Broadwell-E i7 6850k, we have a core count of 6 and 12 threads, in this case tho the Broadwell-E only has 0.1GHz higher base and turbo clock and again the cache is the same at 15 MB with the same story on memory and TDP, in this instance there is a 6% increase in price from 583 $ up to 617 $ and finally as far as the comparisons goes we have the very popular Haswell-E i7 5820k up against the new Broadwell-E i7 6800 k, once again we have 6 cores 12 threads however this time the Broadwell-E only has GHz higher base clock the turbo clock remains the same at 3.6GHz the cache is identical at 15MB and once again the memory and TDP are the same as before ,in instance tho, the price has increased by 12% which is the highest increase of all,are you getting your money’s worth there ? really what this comes down to is how well do both of these CPUs overclock.
But like I said, the big thing about this release is Intel’s introduction of the new 10 core / 20 threads i7 6950x processor, finally got 10 cores on the desktop and as you can see here the base clock of 3 GHz and turbo boost frequency of up to GHz is the same as the previous generation Haswell-E 5960X so the switch to 14 nanometers has allowed Intel to add 2 more cores, yet keep the same frequencies that’s pretty impressive when you think about it, we’ve also got another 5 MB of cache , all at the same 140 watts TDP.
Now, I must admit ,to having a bit of a chuckle with this, quite a few people actually believed that the 6950x would simply replace the 8 core 5960x like that would be the drop-in replacement basically speaking 2 extra cores for the same money, but that was never on the cards and as you can see at 1723 dollars that is quite a bit more to pay for those extra 2 cores, but again without the competition they can really charge whatever they like now before we move on to the features of the new CPU, we’ll have a look at the die shot that Intel has provided, you can see all 10 cores here, down side 5 on each side ,in the middle is all the 25 MB of L3 cache ,down the bottom you’ve got the memory controller and up top we have the Uncore, which for Intel is a logic that is not included in the cores but is essential for their operation you’ve got your I/O stuff up here as well ,it has a die size of 251 mm2 which is more than twice the size of the 1 mm2 of Skylake 251 mm2 however is a good size for a CPU of this massive performance level and as usual all of the cut down parts for example your 6850 k your 6800 k is all based on the same die simply with some cores and some cache fused off So what would you do with the first 10 core processor for the desktop well Intel is picturing it as a cpu for gaming, VR, content creation and overclocking .
I’m not entirely convinced that a 10 core processor is really suitable for gaming or overclocking ,for that matter ,but we shall see . For me a 10 core CPU is all about content creation this is the sort of CPU that a guy like me with love, because obviously a lot of my day is spent editing ,encoding, rendering videos and this is where more cores really matters more creating less waiting that was actually pretty good because I feel like this a lot especially when I was doing the gaming videos, where a 30 minutes video would take over 1 hour for rendering and preparation for YouTube so really this is what the i7 6950x is all about for me video editing video transcoding video creation if you are involved in something like this on a daily basis ,then these 2 extra cores could be a real godsend . And that’s why it costs over 1700 $ because time is money and getting this jobs done faster, will pay for the CPU and more in the long run now moving on to gaming, Intel always like to use the 3d mark physics score it’s utterly meaningless tho, because you don’t see anything like this during gaming .
All that used to be the case however I’ve talked about this in the past, where more cores could become much more useful in future you’ve got a game like Ashes of the Singularity which is a game i have talked about a lot , as a first true DirectX 12 title which is known to scale very well with more CPU cores and here we can see 45% more FPS vs 4 cores so in this instance your 6950X 45% faster than i7 6700 k this may well be a portent of things to come but in my opinion we’re still quite a few years away from that yet ,and over the piece, the 6700k will be a better gaming CPU than the 6950x, a good midway point maybe the 5820 k and now the new incoming 6800 k . Now obviously if mega-tasking is your thing ,then you can mega-task even more with 10 course but you probably figure that one out before now, perhaps the most interesting new feature is Intel Turbo Boost ,we have the normal turbo boost which increases performance depending on how heavy the work load is on the CPU and we know that in the case of the 6950x the maximum turbo speed is GHz however with the new Intel turbo boost technology the single threaded performance that is : 1 core can be boosted even higher so this is a good thing for very single threaded applications it’s actually rather clever and what Intel has done is measure the performance of each of the 10 cores as you can see here on the right ,core 9 would be the best core all the way down to core 0 being the worst, but perhaps a lot of people don’t realize this ,but individual cores do actually perform differently on every CPU ,the difference probably isn’t that much but in terms of performance and in terms of performance per watt, there can be slight differences ,so obviously if something was running in a single thread you would want to have running on the best CPU core, right ? this is what Intel Turbo Boost Max technology attempts to do Now it actually requires a driver, beside that, i can’t show your working because I don’t have a Broadwell-E CPU, but once you install the driver the program runs in the background and anything that has a strong single thread should see a pretty decent benefit we don’t know exactly how far tho, as Intel really can’t guarantee how fast the single fastest core will be, so they where kind of evasive on that one it does need to be set in the Bios and the top speed will be up to the motherboard manufacturer so for example something like the 6950x may have a top speed of 4 GHz single core or it could be as low as 3.8GHZ depending on the motherboard ,depending on the CPU, it is basically a bit like overclocking again considering that you do need to go into the Bios to set it up , and there is a bit of pot luck there, it is a little bit like overclocking all over again but it’s very interesting to see and you can sort of see how that should evolve in future where the CPU may dynamically change core, for example if one core has been running single-threaded for a while it will start to heat up which is what you don’t want so then it could maybe switch to a cooler core second on the list before switching back to the first one after the first one has cooled down these are just natural evolution of chip architecture and it’s something we may even see in Skylake-E but that’s a very interesting little feature and something that could certainly help in certain work loads because these big 10 core CPUs do have a bit of an Achilles heel when it comes to single thread performance and I’m now going to wrap up this video by finally taking a look at performance Now over Anandtech there is once again ,a fantastic review of the CPUs so I will leave a link in the description for that be sure to check it out ,but for now I shall look at one or two of the benchmarks ,Cinebench R15 single-threaded performance to nobody surprise that i7 6700 k is still up top this is a combination of IPC and clock speeds, the 2 CPUs with the fastest clock speeds are up the top, in this instance tho over Anandtech they turned off the single core turbo because it’s a very difficult thing to review ,is a little bit of shame, it would have been nice to see it in action, but otherwise what you’re looking at here is what you’d expect to see ,higher single threaded performance ,higher on the chart and if you look at say the 6800 k it is 7% higher than the 5820 k, and we know that they have the same clock speeds,so what this shows is that Broadwell-E does indeed have around about 5-7% IPC advantage over the outgoing Haswell-E CPU .
It’s a similar story with the 6850k versus 5930k and the 6900k ahead of the 4960x, so no unpleasant surprises there at least and we basicaly get the opposite story in CinebenchR15 multi-threaded probably expected a 10 core CPU to take the lead here and that’s exactly what it does it is then followed by the 8 core 6900k with the final 2 Broadwell-E CPUs a little bit behind the 5960x, interesting to see the 6800 k a little bit ahead of the 5930k which again is related to IPC advancements this is what high-end gaming looks like that is effectively no difference between any of these CPUs unless you’re running Sli or in some very specific cpu-bound titles and which case you would expect to see the 6700 k win by a little ,that is GTA 5 on a gtx 980, i’m looking at Shadow of Mordor the result is the same there’s very little difference between any quad core and above CPU of the past 5 years in fact, for me if you’re a gamer you still have 2 choices for Intel, you’re going to be looking at a new incoming 6800 k or the current 6700 k, or whether or not you think 4 cores is enough or if you want the 6 cores of the high-end Broadwell-E desktop .
Like we saw in Ashes of the Singularity we may see more games starting to use more cores, Total War: Warhammer is yet another game showing benefit of using more cores so these grand strategy games with a lot of units on screen these are games that may make you consider , going with perhaps the 6800 k or the 6850k, for me tho, your 6900x your 6950 x these are still really for the big content creators out there and generally speaking represent very poor value for gamers ,hopefully i’ll be getting hold of one of these at some point in the future and I’ll get some proper benchmarks done, i will also be updating my PC builds to reflect the new CPUs, and that was Intel’s new Broadwell-E high-end desktop family of processors . Still think Intel needs to do a little bit more regarding innovation this Turbo Boost stuff is great I want to see more of this from Intel and maybe with Zen coming at the end of the year this is exacly what Intel will start doing again .
Competition is good for us buyers not just because of prices, but because of innovation, as far as Zen goes tho you’re talking 6 months plus ,if you need the performance now, there’s only one company can offer it, and the best CPUs for that purpose quite simply is Intel’s new Broadwell-E series of CPUs . Prices have increased which is never good to see,some people gonna be upset at 1723 $ 6950x ,for me if, you’re worried about the price you probably don’t need to that CPU anyway . and you’re almost certainly better served with this 6800 . Right, that’s it for this one so hopefully there will be some interesting chat in the discussion below as usual that’s a bunch of links in the description as well and i’ll catch you later guys dO_Ob