According to the latest rumors, Intel's Ivy Bridge-E platform will arrive in the third quarter of this year. Its successor, Haswell-E, is purportedly due in the second half of 2014. VR-Zone has obtained a collection of official-looking slides detailing the next, next generation of Intel's high-end desktop platform.
The slides say Haswell-E will be available with "up to" eight cores, making it Intel's first desktop to stray beyond six-core territory. Current Sandy Bridge-E CPUs are based on eight-core Xeon silicon but have at least two cores disabled. Ivy-E is expected to follow in their footsteps, and it would be nice if Haswell-E weren't similarly handicapped. Even if Intel has to lower clock speeds to accommodate the extra cores, I think enthusiasts would appreciate having an eight-core Intel offering outside the Xeon family.
If the slides are to be believed, another big change is coming in the memory controller. Haswell-E is slated to support four channels of DDR4 memory at speeds up to 2133MHz. It looks like you may be limited to one DIMM per channel, though.
Moving to a new memory technology typically requires a socket change, and one appears to be planned for Haswell-E. The slides describe an "LGA2011-3" socket with the same pin count and dimensions as LGA2011. Despite those similarities, the new socket will supposedly use a different key and loading mechanism. I wouldn't expect the Haswell-E platform to retain backward compatibility with existing CPUs.
Haswell-E will apparently be paired with a new PCH dubbed Wellsburg. The leak claims this platform hub will offer six USB 3.0 ports in addition to 10 Serial ATA 6Gbps connectors. I'm a little surprised that SATA Express isn't mentioned, since it's rumored to be a part of 9-series chipsets that will accompany a Haswell refresh next year. Haswell-E should have plenty of SSD-friendly PCIe connectivity, though. The slides suggest the CPU will have 40 lanes of gen-three PCI Express.
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