Intel won't be releasing a socketed Skylake with eDRAM

Intel Skylake High Res

We know all about Intel’s Skylake processors now, and we won’t be getting any socketed Skylake parts with eDRAM for desktop, at least not any time soon. The Tech Report asked the question recently, but Intel said that it has “no plans to produce a socketed Skylake derivative with eDRAM for desktop systems.” It's not the end of the world, but it is a shame, because a Skylake CPU with eDRAM could actually deliver the kind of performance gains over Haswell that many hoped to see from Skylake.

What makes this so disappointing to some enthusiasts is that we won’t be getting anything to follow in the footsteps of the Broadwell Core i7-5775C. This socketed chip ran on the Broadwell architecture, which was released just a few months ago after major delays and mostly skipped in favor of Skylake. It had 128MB of eDRAM. In some tests performed on recent games, the 5775C beat out newer, more powerful Skylake hardware. This is because its eDRAM acts as a level 4 cache for the entire processor, the sheer size of which makes up for the lack of performance in power and clock speed.

The cache created by eDRAM on the newer Skylake architecture is an exciting prospect, but it remains a dream for now. One of The Tech Report’s sources said that “we may see a revival of the socketed desktop parts with eDRAM as part of next year's 14-nm Kaby Lake refresh.” Schedule concerns may have been a factor in the decision to not release any yet. It took a long time for the socketed Broadwell processors with eDRAM to come out, and they’re still not that common, so perhaps Intel is waiting until it can get everything sorted this time. But Intel clearly recognizes the size of its gaming market, as it highlighted gaming performance overclocking when it launched its first Skylake CPUs.

Tech Report also suggested that the Skylake CPU and the eDRAM chip could be incompatible due to size constraints. There just might not be enough room for the chip alongside the processor, the way the 5775C is laid out.

For the overclocking crowd, a processor with Skylake’s high clock speeds combined with a huge cache would be a dream come true. Intel has catered to these enthusiasts in the past (even recently with the unlocked K-series of Skylake hardware), but it remains to be seen whether we’ll ever get socketed Skylake desktop parts with eDRAM.

For more on the subject, check out Ars Technica's article on the disappointment of no eDRAM-equipped Skylake.