Details have leaked about Intel's planned replacement for the Intel Sandy Bridge E
enthusiast-grade processor family, suggesting that Ivy Bridge is being skipped in favour of a jump straight to the next-generation Haswell platform.
Intel's Sandy Bridge E processors, released to the public in November 2011, Intel's Core i7-monikered Sandy Bridge E chips packed Xeon-like hardware into top-end enthusiast-grade packaging. Requiring an entirely new socket type - LGA 2011 - the chips haven't exactly set the retail world alight, but are still a popular choice among gamers looking for top-end performance with no care as to the price-tag.
Since the Sandy Bridge E chips hit the market, however, Ivy Bridge
has been released. Offering a process shrink to 22nm and Intel's heavily-hyped tri-gate transistor technology, Ivy Bridge chips easily outperform their last-generation Sandy Bridge equivalents - but there has been no sign of an Ivy Bridge E to replace the Sandy Bridge E family, leaving those who splashed out on an LGA 2011 board with a last-generation processor.
An anonymous source speaking to TweakTown
may have an explanation for that: Intel is allegedly planning to skip Ivy Bridge altogether - despite the recent appearance of Ivy Bridge E engineering samples
- making its next E-family release a Haswell part.
The next-generation replacement for Ivy Bridge, Haswell is an architectural improvement rather than a process node shift. Packing new features - such as the Haswell New Instructions (HNI), transactional memory technology
and a power draw so low as to offer laptops a ten-day 'always-connected' standby lifespan
on a single charge. In short: Haswell, if it lives up to Intel's promises, could be a real winner in both the desktop and laptop markets.
According to TweakTown's source, Haswell will form the heart of the next E-series processor range from Intel. With the source pointing to a release by the end of the year, and Haswell expected to be announced - if not made available through retail channels - at Computex in June, the timing certainly adds up: releasing an enthusiast-grade high-performance product based on a last-generation architecture months after the new architecture has been unveiled certainly doesn't seem like a winning sales strategy.
For those who have LGA 2011 motherboards already, however, there comes some bad news: the same unnamed source claims that the new Haswell E chips will require a brand-new chipset dubbed X99, meaning it is unlikely to be compatible with existing X79-based LGA 2011 motherboards.
Intel, naturally, has refused to comment on the source's claims, reiterating only that it does not comment on what it calls 'industry rumour or speculation regarding unannounced products.
' The presence of engineering samples, plus rumblings from industry sources of a confirmed 2013 launch for X79-compatible Ivy Bridge E parts, however, mean this particular rumour should be taken with a grain of salt.