While Intel is about to release some of the first processors based on its Haswell-E specifications, it is starting to look like they will not be the eight core fiestas expected.
Of the three Haswell-E Core i7 CPUs expected, only one of them, the Core i7-5960X, will actually come with 8 cores, and that is the one which will cost an arm and a leg to buy.
The Core i7-5960X and the other two, the i7-5930K and i7-5820K, will contain only six cores.
Dubbed the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, the flagship CPU of the first Haswell-E lineup and will have two more cores and four more threads than the company's current Ivy Bridge-E based Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition processor.
Built around the 22nm Haswell architecture, this new 8-core CPU will head to the deep-pocketed gaming community.
The Core i7-5960X will be clocked at a 3.0GHz base, with a 3.3GHz boost frequency. It will also include support for the latest DDR4 2133MHz memory, and 20MB of L3 cache as well. In addition, its power rating will be 140 watts TDP, or only 10 more watts than the 6-core i7-4960X.
The new DDR4 memory controller resides on the processor and the RAM is directly connected to the CPU. The DDR4 modules themselves use only 1.2 volts of power, compared to DDR3's 1.65/1.5 volts.
The two other Haswell-E Core i-7 chips are 6-core, 12-thread processors. Aside from clock speeds, their specifications are primarily the same. The i7-5930K runs at 3.5GHz, about a 3.9-4.0GHz boost, but it is nearly half the price. The i7-5820K, will run at a 3.3GHz base, with a 3.6-3.8GHz clock boost. It will list for around $300. Both will support a 15MB L3 Cache.
So the question is what is it about eight cores that make shelling out that sort of money cost effective? At that price Intel has priced the 8-core i7-5690X out of mainstream machines.
All three processors will be compatible with Intel's upcoming x99 chipset and motherboards. We expect them out during the fourth quarter.
It is possible however that next year will be the year of the less-expensive, 6-core CPU.