In a somewhat uncharacteristic turn from Intel, we were hooked up and loaded in to a press conference call this week regarding the announcement of some exciting new products coming to market. The purpose of the press conference call was to explain some new technologies coming to the scene, as well as Intel stating that they are listening to their userbase, including enthusiasts. As an enthusiast, these announcements make me very excited, although they do produce more questions than they answer.

The announcement is the introduction of a socketed version of Iris Pro, coming to Intel’s Broadwell platform.

So the first big thing here is Iris Pro coming to a socketed platform, which we have requested since the release of Crystal Well BGA parts in devices like the Apple iMac and GIGABYTE BRIX Pro. This should allow users to build SFF socketed systems with Intel’s highest end integrated graphics. What was not mentioned was if this will be a new Iris Pro for Broadwell, or just another Iris Pro HD 5200 part with a Broadwell CPU.

The second big part from this one announcement is that the CPU is said to come fully unlocked. This should mean that the CPU multiplier, CPU strap, memory and the uncore should be fully adjustable - Intel have told us that this part will have a similar set of overclocking tools as the other unlocked parts. Intel are not disclosing what the limits are or what is expected, and equally no information regarding the release date, whether this CPU will come with the Broadwell CPU launch or at a later date afterwards.

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  • Kevin G - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Depends on your workloads. The L4 cache would boost IPC and typically you can get the quad core chips to clock higher than the >6 chips. So for a less parallel task (gaming etc.), a Haswell with Iris Pro would make more sense than the 8 core Haswell-e.

    Of course I wouldn't object to Intel releasing Haswell-e with some L4 cache which would make my above point moot. :)
  • willis936 - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    Those chips usually have significantly more L3, which has a much higher bandwidth than L4. If I had to pick between more L3 and a large L4 I'd probably pick the larger L3. As for games: I doubt they'll need that much performance even five years down the line.
  • jragonsoul - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Good to know.
  • Sirk77 - Monday, March 24, 2014 - link

    IDK. If memory serves, these Iris pros have a 128MB L4 cache. Further more, if you have a dedicated video card, that HUGE L4 cache is still available to the processor. I would rather have the large cache that extra procs that will more than likely go unused.
  • purerice - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    So by unlocked does this mean a non-"K" series? If they're just adding Iris Pro to the "K" series it would seem odd, as most "K" buyers probably have dedicated CPUs anyway.
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    It'll still help even with a dedicated GPU: the eDRAM can still be used as a large L4 cache. That'll give a slight boost to IPC.
  • Solandri - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    If the gains from a large L4 cache were "worth it", Intel would be putting it on all their CPUs as a general way to improve performance. If you're going with a dedicated GPU, I can see this only being worthwhile if you've got some specialized task in mind which benefits disproportionately from using the eDRAM as a cache.
  • qap - Saturday, March 22, 2014 - link

    Decade ago you could've made the same argument about L3 cache (and years before that about L2$ and also about L1$). With 22nm process it doesn't make sense to add large L4 to all (highend) CPUs, but at 14nm I can easily imagine that it can make sense to reserve some 35mm2 to 128MB L4 on-die (or half of that for 64MB). Probably we won't see it in Broadwell, but in Skylake it is possible.
  • willis936 - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    I don't think K is something to be desired since it means some fancy virtualization extensions are disabled. If it's unlocked, has those extensions, and L4 cache then it's a winner of a chip.
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    It might be nice for users that want a nice GPU, but might not be able to afford a GPU to match.

    You could use the IGP for a few months and be moderately satisfied until you could afford a respectable GPU.

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