Don’t Expect Socketed Intel Skylake with eDRAM

When Intel frist revealed that the eDRAM cache introduced with Iris Pro could be accessed by the CPU, many users were elated. CPU performance had long been relatively stagnant and extra faster cache would help improve performance. With up to 50GB/s in each direction, the relatively massive 128MB eDRAM L4 cache would bridge the gap between the large yet slow DDR3/4 and the small yet fast L3 cache. Unfortunately though, Intel has no plans to introduce this to socketed Skylake chips, limiting it to soldered BGA SKUs.

One reason many had hoped that Intel would introduce socketed Skylake with eDRAM was due to Broadwell. With the socketed i7 5775C and i5 5675C, Intel paired LGA 1150 Broadwell with 128MB of eDRAM as L4. What’s more, both chips were also unlocked and overclockable. Many had hoped that the unlocked Skylake SKUs or even a locked SKU would offer the same combination. Even with the lackluster overclocks, the 5775C can actually match overclocked 6700K in performance. This means a Skylake part with eDRAM would likely far surpass our current 6700K.

There is still room for Intel to add eDRAM to a socketed chip later on with the Kaby Lake refresh. Set for 2016, that will be little more than a minor refresh on the Skylake architecture and probably a drop in replacement on LGA 1151 motherboards. Even then though, we may not truly see eDRAM as a real option till AMD pressures Intel with Zen combined with maybe HBM or eDRAM.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information

Intel Skylake i7-6700K De-Lid Shows Thermal Paste, Small Die and No VRM

What appears to be a de-lidded i7-6700K has popped up on the net. A user of coolaler has found a blurry picture of what is said to be an Intel Skylake i7-6700K. Under the recognizable metal heat spreader, a relatively small die can be found covered in thermal paste. Somewhat expected, it means that Intel will not be using solder for its unlocked chips.

Intel first moved to away from solder starting with Ivy Bridge. One of the issues cited was that the smaller die size from the 22nm, now 14nm process, would cause the solder to crack prematurely. The move to thermal compound was not well met and the decrease in overclocks coupled with high heat was bemoaned by many. Haswell exacerbated the situation with on package VRMs. Intel answered with Devil’s Canyon, with improved VRMs and next-generation polymer thermal interface material (NGPTIM).

Skylake also appears to be using NGPTIM according to coolaler which should help. A closer look at the package reveals that the telltale extra capacitors on the package brought by Haswell are missing, confirming the fact that the VRMs are finally back on the motherboard. It also suggests that if the chip pic is fake, it is either edited or is a pre-Haswell chip. These changes may be offset however by the smaller die, making it harder to cool the chip. This factor is likely to get worse as Intel transitions to 10nm and beyond.

One final note is the lack of eDRAM next to the CPU die. Early rumours had pointed to Crystallwell, Intel’s L4 eDRAM cache for its integrated graphics being widely available with Skylake processors. This appeared to be confirmed when Intel launched socketed Broadwell unlocked chips equipped with eDRAM in the form of the i7-5775C and i5-5675C. Handicapping Skylake in this way may be a move aimed at pushing adoption for Broadwell. Maybe Intel will have a lower clocked K chip with eDRAM but hopes do not seem high.

Thank you coolaler for providing us with this information.

Intel Launches Broadwell Desktop At Last

Delayed so long that rumors were spreading that there would never be a desktop launch, Intel has at last launched Broadwell for the desktop. The meant to follow the Haswell Tock, Broadwell was aimed at improving efficiency, quite minor tweaks and a move to the 14nm process. The complexity of 14nm production caused Broadwell to be severely delayed, with only Core-M, a mobile variant, being released last year. Desktop users had to make do with Haswell-Refresh but no more.

While there are mobile Broadwell chips launching today, the focus is on the 5 desktop CPUs. There are the i5-5575R, i5-5675R, i5-5675C, i7-5775R, and i7-5775C. All 5 processors are compatible with Z97 and H97 motherboards. However, with the exception of the C processors, they are all BGA chips, meaning they come soldered directly onto the motherboard. This means the R chips, like the 4770R before, will likely only be sold by OEMs or as part of a motherboard bundle. The C chips being unlocked (C is the new K), are LGA and the standard BIOS update for your motherboard should suffice.

The biggest change is for the frist time, Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, in this case, HD6200, are being sold with an LGA and overclockable SKU. While most users getting an unlocked chip tend to use dGPU, the addition of a strong iGPU is good for cases where you need to do an RMA or the dGPU croaks. More importantly, Iris Pro graphics means the chip comes with Crystal well, a 128MB eDRAM that acts like L4 cache. This fast low latency memory can provide a boost to single threaded performance that many might be interested in.

Broadwell on desktop, despite being unlocked and with an eDRAM cache, may face a cold reception. Skylake, Intel’s next Tock with a new architecture, is set to release later this year. With its replacement on its way o soon, Broadwell may have a tough time convincing consumers it’s a viable choice. Maybe Intel may ver well surprise us by holding Skylake desktop back, or maybe it’ll refrain from offering eDRAM on the i7 6700K? The issue becomes dicier as Broadwell desktop is only set for public availability near the end of the month.