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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Leaked Roadmap Reveals Two Lines of Enthusiast Sandy Bridge-E Processors

In Q4 2011, Intel will unveil its new Sandy Bridge-E (enthusiast) platform, consisting of new multi-core processors in the 2011-pin LGA package, and Intel X79 Express chipset. A roadmap slide leaked to the Chinese media reveals an interesting way in which Intel will approach the platform to monetize it best. To begin with, it appears like Sandy Bridge-E will keep up with the trend set by LGA1155 processors where only certain models can be overclocked, while others are greatly limited. Among those that can be overclocked (or "unlocked", as Intel puts it,) there will be two classes.

The first class are the 6-core chips at the very top of the pile, probably branded "Extreme Edition", which feature both unlocked BClk multipliers, and have 15 MB of L3 cache, among several other features enabled. Traditionally these processors cost around US $1000. The first of such chips will be clocked at 3.30 GHz. The second class of "unlocked" chips are those which make overclocking more accessible at lower price points (we're thinking under $600), probably branded with the "K" brand identifier extension (eg: 2600K). These 6-core chips will feature unlocked multipliers, while having 12 MB of cache enabled. The first of these chips will be clocked at 3.20 GHz.

The third kind of LGA2011 chips are quad-core chips in which overclocking is limited. We don't expect them to overclock any better than non-unlocked Core i5/i7 LGA1155 chips. These chips get 10 MB of L3 cache enabled. Perhaps to compensate, Intel will clock these chips high. The first one will be clocked at 3.60 GHz. So what exactly differentiates these chips from LGA1155 non-unlocked Core i7 chips? Well, apart from the 10 MB L3 cache, these chips will have massive quad-channel DDR3 integrated memory controllers (IMCs), and integrated 32-lane PCI-Express 2.0 hubs that can drive up to four graphics cards without needing external bridge chips.

Other short-term changes given out by that slide includes:

  • New non-XE Core i7 980 "Gulftown" LGA1366 six-core chip clocked at 3.33 GHz, with 12 MB L3 cache, 6.4 GT/s QPI, very soon, in Q2 2011
  • Core i7 995X Extreme Edition in Q3 2011
  • Non-XE Core i7 990 around the same time as 995X
  • New Core i7 >2600K, new LGA1155 chip faster than 2600K in Q3
  • Core i7 970 could get more affordable in Q3

Source: XFastest

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