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Haswell-E launches

QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,772Member Uncommon

There is, in American politics and probably elsewhere, a time-honored tradition of the Friday afternoon news dump.  Basically, if you have bad news that isn't publicly known yet but you know is going to come out eventually, you release the news on a Friday afternoon to minimize the publicity it gets.  The theory is that you release it too late for Friday news, people don't check the news much on Saturday, and by next week, you can dismiss it as old news.  In an Internet era, I don't think this works as well as it used to, and big enough scandals can drag on for weeks or years, but that doesn't stop people from trying.

There were rumors that Intel was going to launch Haswell-E today, on the Friday before Labor Day.  If you wanted to time a launch for minimal publicity, this is basically when you'd do it.  I started to write a post a couple of weeks ago asking why they'd do such a thing and what must be wrong with the chip.  But then I thought, nah, they wouldn't dare, and canceled the post.  Well, they just did:  and on a Friday afternoon, no less.

I can only recall one significant computer part in the last several years to launch on a Friday before today:  the GeForce GTX 480.  And that was on a Friday evening, no less.  Granted, Haswell-E isn't as bad as that awful chip, but then, "not as bad as the worst GPU chip of the last seven years" isn't exactly high praise.

So let's look at the damage.  With enough cores, the clock speeds are limited by how fast the chip can go inside a given thermal envelope, not just how fast the cores can go, period.  That has long been true of the higher end Xeon E5 and E7 chips, but this is arguably the first time that we're seeing markedly reduced clock speeds in desktop chips.  Granted, this is also the first time we're seeing an eight-core Intel chip, but even the six core chips have reduced clock speeds, with turbo topping out at 3.6 and 3.7 GHz, as compared to 3.8 GHz or more for all of Intel's previous Core i7 desktop chips of the last four years--including the six core variants of Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E.

It's not that they're trying to burn less power, either.  The TDP goes up:  140 W, as compared to 130 W for Ivy Bridge-E.  In spite of that, the clock speeds are down.  At stock speeds with six cores, Haswell-E is mostly slower than Ivy Bridge-E.  Overclocking can close that gap, but if you compare overclock to overclock, Haswell-E still isn't any better than Sandy Bridge-E, and you're probably using more power than Ivy Bridge-E.

But Haswell-E does offer DDR4, at least, right?  Well yes, but it's not at all clear that that's a good thing.  Even if you decide that you need 2133 MHz DDR3 to match the clock speed of DDR4, it's a lot cheaper to buy a given quantity of DDR3 than DDR4.  DDR4 will use less power than DDR4, but that is likely to get overwhelmed by Haswell-E using more power for the CPU than Ivy Bridge-E.

So does that make Haswell-E completely useless?  Well, no.  If you want eight cores in a desktop with a desktop feature set (overclocking allowed, non-ECC memory, etc.), Haswell-E is the first Intel CPU to over that.  It's over $1000, but still, if you need it, it's there.

But there's one other thing:  you can get a six core Haswell-E CPU for $390.  Ivy Bridge-E started at $560 for six cores.  Needing DDR4 memory and a more expensive motherboard will eat up much of that price different today.  But DDR4 will probably drop in price as time passes, as will X99 motherboards once they're out.  And cheaper is certainly good from a consumer perspective.

But this should also remind us of just how good Sandy Bridge really was.  If you bought a Core i7-2600 three and a half ago and are willing to overclock, you still have a legitimate high end CPU today.  It will be a year or so before anything with even a remote chance of changing that launches.  It used to be that you were doing well if a four year old CPU was not completely awful.

Comments

  • chucky999chucky999 flint, MIPosts: 24Member
    Well if AMD got the lead out of it's ass they would have some one to compete with. 3 out of the last 4 computers I built where AMD, and my i7 is faster then the other 3 combined.
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,195Member Uncommon
    So with all that said, what you say the "Go To" chip is today in both i5 and i7, or does it still depend on many variables? I mention i7 because some people like me want those features for things other than gaming. Is there a sweet spot CPU right now for price and performance without overclocking. I would assume if one wanted to overclock they would more likely know exactly what they wanted and price for performance might not be a primary factor. Is that correct?
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,772Member Uncommon

    A lot depends on what you need.  If you need a capable gaming processor for cheap, get an Athlon 760K or FX-6300.  If you need lots of throughput cheaply but don't need exceptional single-threaded performance, an FX-8350.  If you don't need more than four cores but want them fast, a Core i5-4670K or -4690K.  For top end single-threaded performance and a very nice quad core, a Core i7-4790K.

    If you need six cores and you need them faster than AMD offers, get the new Core i7-5820K, unless you need a ton of memory (i.e., at least 32 GB), in which case, maybe get the older Core i7-4930K.  Eight cores, Core i7-5960X.  More than eight cores in a workload that doesn't scale to multiple sockets, look at Xeon E5.  If you need massive CPU throughput with a workload that does scale well to multiple sockets (so threads don't need to communicate with each other all that much), a Xeon E5 dual or quad socket system.

    If you mostly need massive amounts of memory bandwidth or memory capacity and know that you don't need much CPU performance, Opteron Abu Dhabi may make sense for you, or possibly Xeon E5; the advantage of the former is price.  If you need massive total CPU performance but have a workload that scales well to many cores and many sockets and don't need much single-threaded performance, Opteron Abu Dhabi might make sense, or Xeon E5.  If you do need high single-threaded performance with the enormous throughput required, that rules out Opteron, and you need Xeon E5.

    If you really need ridiculous amounts of cores and sockets or memory or memory bandwidth in a single server and are willing to pay a fortune for it, then Xeon E7, or some enterprise systems from IBM or Oracle or maybe someone else, but once you wander into non-x86 enterprise CPUs, I don't know much about it.

    If it's a workload that will scale to an enormous number of servers but is mostly limited by other things and not CPU performance, ARM-based microservers might be ideal.  Right now, ARM servers all 32-bit, which means little memory per socket, among other things, but that restriction is going away very soon.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,172Member Uncommon

    Goes to show how good the Core line in general has been, particularly from on forward where they moved to the i3/i5/i7 brands.

    I was really hoping to find a good reason to upgrade my X58 chipset, and Z97/X99 haven't been it yet. Early sites are show H-E 8-core CPU's OCing to the mid-4's on air, and just shy of 5 on water, so yeah, not quite as good as Sandy was, but there's also a rumor that the sites posting reviews now got cherry-picked top-end 8 core samples, and the 6-core variety isn't really out in large availability yet.

    Maybe once DDR4 matures and we see prices stabilize out to something reasonable.

    I wouldn't call it a bad launch - it's not like they slid backwards (*cough*Bulldozer*cough*), but I wouldn't call it very exciting. They put all their marbles in the Devil's Canyon basket and got somewhat snakebit.

  • NitthNitth AustraliaPosts: 3,684Member Uncommon

    I was looking at getting a 4930k, Will that still go head to head agisnt the new line of 6 core cpu's?

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  • yaminsuxyaminsux KajangPosts: 810Member Uncommon
    IMO, if you dont OC. Intel without -K suffix would do just fine, and cheaper.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,772Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nitth

    I was looking at getting a 4930k, Will that still go head to head agisnt the new line of 6 core cpu's?

    At stock speeds, it will actually be faster than the new six core chips.  The downside is that it costs about $200 more than the new Core i7-5820K.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,772Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by yaminsux
    IMO, if you dont OC. Intel without -K suffix would do just fine, and cheaper.

    If you want six or more cores in a desktop, they're all overclockable.  Allowing overclocking is one of the reasons for the -E series chips to exist, as the same chips are available labeled as Xeon E5, but with a server-focused rather than desktop-focused set of features enabled.  For example, compare:

    http://ark.intel.com/products/75779/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-1620-v2-10M-Cache-3_70-GHz

    http://ark.intel.com/products/77781/Intel-Core-i7-4820K-Processor-10M-Cache-up-to-3_90-GHz

     

    http://ark.intel.com/products/75780/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-1650-v2-12M-Cache-3_50-GHz

    http://ark.intel.com/products/77780/Intel-Core-i7-4930K-Processor-12M-Cache-up-to-3_90-GHz

     

    http://ark.intel.com/products/75781/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-1660-v2-15M-Cache-3_70-GHz

    http://ark.intel.com/products/77779/Intel-Core-i7-4960X-Processor-Extreme-Edition-15M-Cache-up-to-4_00-GHz

    I'm sure that the Xeon E5 v3 line will be available very, very soon.

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