Intel is widely expected to be dropping the octo-core Haswell-E bomb in September. The smart money places launch sometime around their Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, but only the most committed enthusiasts will want to put down $999 for Intel's new tech.
This means the top tier performance processor range will receive Haswell microarchitecture some 15 months after the standard Haswell chips were launched. While that might taint this new launch for some, the news that we'll finally be seeing proper eight-core, sixteen-thread Intel desktop CPUs should get the ultra-enthusiast crowd sitting up.
The top octo-core Haswell-E chip, the Core i7 5960X, will come in at a wallet-busting $999, in line with the way Intel have previously priced their Extreme Edition processors.
The other two Haswell-E chips are going to be missing those two extra cores, but that still means we'll get six-core Intel Extreme CPUs for a much more reasonable price. The ~$500 i7 5930K is still ridiculously pricey for a single slice of silicon, but there's more.
The Core i7 5820K could be the most interesting of the bunch. Rumours are that this hex-core CPU will be rocking the same hefty 15MB cache as the $500 part, but with slightly lower clockspeeds—somewhere around the 3.3GHz mark. Because of that 'K' we can expect it to be unlocked, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this ~$350 chip overclocking well.(opens in new tab)
With the top Devil's Canyon chip—the quad-core i7 4790K—coming in at around the same price point you'd be forgiven for thinking that bottom-end Extreme Edition CPU could bite into the Devil's Canyon market, but there is a problem: DDR4.
The new X99 motherboard chipset, which is being introduced with Haswell-E, will be the first consumer platform to operate with DDR4 memory, and with a new memory design comes hefty price premiums. So, along with the traditionally high price tag of the Extreme Edition motherboards, we can expect the platform cost to be even more swollen thanks to the cost of new DDR4 modules.
DDR4 is set to be lower-powered and able to deliver higher density modules, but the early adopters are going to have to pay way above what equivalent DDR3 memory will cost.
While these Haswell-E CPUs will be the most advanced, most powerful desktop processors you can slap into a gaming rig, only the very, very wealthy need apply.