The rumours have begun swirling again now that it is almost time for Intel to reveal the new Core i7 CPU line using the Broadwell-E architecture. Now at this point NONE of this is confirmed and it may turn out that everyone is wrong, but it looks like the flagship i7-6950X will have ten physical cores with hyperthreading.
That would make it the first ever non-Xeon consumer socket CPU with this many cores and hardware threads Remember, with hyperthreading there will be 20 independent cores.
Until now the most you could hope for was an octa-core Haswell-E CPU. Specifically the 5960X, which was the first octa-core Intel CPU for regular consumers.
We already have Broadwell-EP Xeon CPUs with itís 24-core design (of which only 22 are switched on for current SKUs) and now it is time for a new line of Extreme Edition chips.
Thanks to the jump from a 22nm process to a 14nm process upping the core count to ten from eight is not such an unbelievable move. In fact it is surprising that it's such a conservative jump.
As far as we know, anyone with the LGA2011v3 socket should have a drop-in upgrade to a 10-core CPU. albeit with a BIOS update.
Other than that it seems that this CPU will have 25MB of L3 cache, up 5MB from its predecessor.
Apparently the maximum turbo clock speed is 3.5Ghz, but it isnít clear how many cores can run at full load at this speed.
Pricing? Well, itís really anyoneís guess. Previous flagship EE i7s have gone for about $1000, but this may very well be priced above that point.
If the rumours are true and the 6950X is ready to roll with itís lower specced brethren we could see products on the shelf as early as Q2 of 2016.
The really interesting thing is what AMD is going to bring to the party with Zen, which may also be a CPU with a huge core count and an apparent 40% per core increase in performance compared to the previous AMD generation. Exciting times for enthusiast computing, thatís for sure.