CES 2016: Intel’s Xeon CPUs have a reputation for being extremely expensive and designed for the most demanding professional workloads. However, since the release of Skylake, Intel has outlined their plans to bring the Xeon name back to affordable consumer-grade motherboards. In theory, consumers can purchase the E3 1230 v5 CPU which offers the same core/thread count and L3 cache compared to the i7-6700. The only real downsize is a slight 0.2GHz turbo deficit, 20W higher TDP and lack of onboard graphics. Although this isn’t an issue as most high end users will be using a discrete GPU.
After speaking at length with Gigabyte about this, it seems they feel the consumer Xeon range provides great value, and could become a popular choice. However, I’m pretty sceptical as marketing the Xeon name as an affordable proposition will be a difficult task. During CES, Gigabyte unveiled the X170 Gaming 3 WS, X170-Gaming 7 WS, X170-Extreme ECC, X150-Plus WS and X150M Plus WM.
As you can see the motherboards adopt a stylish camo design which looks phenomenal and should suit various colour schemes. Rather surprisingly, the majority of these do not have ECC support although this might be revised in time for the official release. These C232/C236 workstation products aren’t as barren as you might expect and include gaming features like an isolated audio PCB section, USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity, 32Gb/s M.2 support 115dB SNR, DualBIOS and more!
This is only a brief overview of the range, and we should be taking a more in-depth look when the motherboards arrive for review purposes.