The next twelve months are set to be exciting times for the desktop space for Intel. While the current fifth generation mobile processors are coming to market, and the sixth generation being talked about in hushed tones, Intel demonstrated a PC that was listed as having a Broadwell desktop part (Broadwell-DT). The interesting culmination of factors surrounding this part is that it was listed as being socketed, unlocked and containing Iris Pro internal graphics.

The key elements here include the CPU being socketed (replaceable), unlocked (overclockable) and having Iris Pro, or Intel’s extended eDRAM segmentation usually under the Crystal Well name but with the much improved Generation 8 graphics architecture. While we have heard that an unlocked Iris Pro has been coming to desktop since March last year, very few details were given at the time, and the news today at least puts a TDP on such a part: 65W. Normally the high end SKUs from Intel are 77W to 85W, suggesting that this component may not in actual fact be an i7, or it could be an Iris Pro part but using one of the low power monikers such as ‘S’.

Image from Intel

The news also puts on a more firm date, so rather than ‘2015’ we get ‘mid-2015’, which puts it within the May to September timeframe. There are two important events occurring between those dates -  Computex in June and the Intel Developer Forum in August, suggesting that Intel may aim for one of these events to have a formal launch.

Despite the launch of 14nm on the desktop, there has been recent talk of Intel’s next architecture, Skylake, also occurring within the year. This puts Intel in an interesting dynamic of releasing two different platforms for desktop within the same year. One could speculate and suggest that these will synergistically work in tandem, with Skylake-DT taking a segment and Broadwell-DT taking another segment. Where mobile fits into all this as well is difficult to tell, especially given the launch of Broadwell-U and Core-M within the past few months.

As much as we would like more information, it seems that the only thing we can tell is that the motherboard being used looks like an EVGA design due to the right angled power connector. Intel is also stating that the Iris Pro model will be great for all-in-ones (no argument there) which could also feature its RealSense camera, enhancing compute power and interactivity. It would be interesting if a socketed Iris Pro was truly aimed at the AIO market, but then such a SKU would not need to be unlocked. Unlocking for the purposes of overclocking is naturally aimed at the desktop market, although usually for gamers with discrete GPUs rather than Iris Pro.

Naturally we want to get our hands on a sample for review. Ryan is at GDC this week so if he gets a chance to spend a few minutes with the system it would be interesting to hear what they actually represented in the demo as well as more information about the system itself.

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  • IntelUser2000 - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    "much improved Generation 8 graphics architecture."

    20% performance gain in C-P-U counts as "much improved" in my book, not 20% in GPU.
  • Harry Lloyd - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    It is a shame that everyone has to pay for those completely useless iGPUs, which take a lot of development resources, while CPU performance has basically been the same for 5 years.
  • horsebadorties - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    Then don't buy a processor with an iGPU. Those of us who don't game are happy to avoid buying expensive, power-hungry graphics cards.
  • purerice - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    I agree that the lack of improvement is frustrating but Intel is merely providing what the market desires. The past 5 years the market has demanded focus on:
    performance per watt

    If Intel focused on the high end desktop market only, they would be losing money right now.

    The other factor is competition. You release IP to market when there is a competitive need. A Sandy Bridge i3 can wallop the latest AMD "CPU" (whatever it's called). If Intel had added a feature to Ivy Bridge that added 20% to integer/floating point performance, AMD could have reverse engineered that and put it in their current chips. If Zen is a performance machine, and I hope it is, we will see some big improvements coming from Intel shortly after.
  • MikeMurphy - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    It wasn't that long ago when Intel Chipset GPUs couldn't even run Aero on Vista. Intel GPUs have been coming along just fine.
  • darkfalz - Sunday, March 8, 2015 - link

    I dunno if you pay that much for it, really. You might pay for the R&D but it's the same R&D that will get you that GPU on your Ultrabook where you might want it. As for the silicon on the chip, if unused, it's a bit like saying that someone buying a cut down i5 CPU is "paying" for that disabled 2MB cache they aren't using. or someone buying an i3 is "paying" for the silicone on two disabled cores. Since there is no line of Intel CPUs with disabled iGPUs I suspect they don't pose much of a problem binning wise.
  • hansmuff - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    Still waiting for a meaningful upgrade from the 2600k.
  • Urizane - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    I'm sitting on a 4.0 GHz quad Nehalem. I have this irrational feeling that I need to upgrade it based on its age alone (I bought mine 6 years ago), but it's still a well running system. This has certainly been my longest running system (by far). IPC improvements might finally make me jump, though. A lowly 2.6 GHz quad Broadwell should, in theory, perform just as well as my Nehalem. I haven't been concerned with power since it requires all four cores to be loaded before it draws 140W, but it would be nice to drop that to less than half.
  • MikeMurphy - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    Classic system but things have come a long way since then. With more Skylake IPC and power consumption improvements I suggest the time to upgrade is near.
  • xrror - Friday, March 6, 2015 - link

    Have a look on ebay for old surplus 1366 xeons, assuming your motherboard has a bios update for them (almost all socket 1366 boards do) you can pick up a 6 core /12 HT xeon for a few bucks, and even a low multiplier x5650 will run 4Ghz if your motherboard is okay with BCK of 186 or so. Just be careful with voltages - gulftown IMC isn't quite the indestructible beast bloomfield is ;)

    It's definitely worth looking into if you want to get a few more years out of your rig while you wait to upgrade.

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