Intel announced a new family of high-end desktop processors code-named Broadwell-E which packs 10 Broadwell CPU cores. This 10-cores are marketed as a part of the Core i7 6950x. The previous generation Haswell-E had 8 cores.
The prior-generation Haswell-E processor family was formed on a single chip: the eight-core Haswell-EP server processor. In its full configuration, it was sold as the $999 Core i7 5960X, with six-core variants made out of cut-down versions of that same chip.
That die measured in at 356 square millimeters in Intel’s 22-nanometer manufacturing process.
The 10-core Broadwell-E chip is simply the full 10-core Broadwell-EP server chip relabeled and repurposed as a high-end desktop processor. The eight-core model, as well as the two six-core models, are also fashioned out of this same processor.
The size of the die is approximately 246 square millimeters, or approximately 69% the size of the Haswell-E die that it replaces.
Intel claims that it’s twice as fast as the quad-core i7-6700k and 35% faster than the previous gen core i7-5960k. Editing 4k video will be 65% faster than the same quad-core chip and 25% faster than previous gen i7 processor. Gaming is 25 percent faster than the 5960X when it comes to gaming in 4K while encoding and broadcasting a 1080p Twitch stream.
Intel has indicated in the past that the wafer cost increase, or effectively the cost per area of silicon, was approximately 30% in going from 22-nanometer to 14-nanometer. This means that all else equal, 246 square millimeters of 14-nanometer silicon should cost about the same as approximately 320 square millimeters of 22-nanometer silicon.
Right off the bat, it would seem that the 10-core Broadwell-E is actually cheaper to manufacture relative to the eight-core Haswell-E.
However, it’s important to note that Intel saw a decline in the gross profit margins of its data center business as a result of 14-nanometer yields relative to 22-nanometer yields.
- Broadwell-E: 246 square millimeter die, the defect density of 0.2 defects/square centimeter, $9,100 wafer cost.
- Haswell-E: 356 square millimeter die, the defect density of 0.1 defects/square centimeter, $7,000 wafer cost.
For the Broadwell-E part, under the above assumptions, 139 of the 223 dies that come off the wafer are good. For the Haswell-E part, of the 153 dies on the wafer, 109 come out good.
Based on this analysis, the raw die cost of the 14-nanometer part should be around $83. The cost of the 22-nanometer part under these assumptions works out to around $64.
The new Extreme Edition of i7 processors will also be available in an 8-core version (the i7-6900K for $1,089) and 6-core variants (the $617 i7-6850K and the $434 i7-6800K). Naturally, they’re completely unlocked, so you can overclock them to your heart’s content. All of the new chips also support DDR4-2400 RAM, a slight bump in speeds from the previous-gen processors. Intel is charging around $1,750 for the 6950X, compared to around $1,000 for the 5960X.
(sources: Engadget, Fool)