Rumor: Intel puts the pedal to the metal on its HEDT refresh


— 12:00 PM on April 19, 2017

The notorious rumor mongers at Digitimes report that Intel is planning to move several upcoming releases foward. The first rumor concerns the release date of the rumored Basin Falls high-end desktop (HEDT) platform, the accompanying Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs, the X299 chipset, and the rumored LGA 2066 socket. According to "Taiwan-based PC vendors,"  Basin Falls' premiere is moving from the end of July to a release date during the Computex trade show at the end of May. This news comes just days after rumors that the same launch was being moved from late July to late June.

For those who don't follow the minutiae of Intel's ever-shifting codename structure, Skylake-X is expected to be the Skylake incarnation of Intel's long-running HEDT series of chips, which have traditionally born the '-E' suffix. Skylake-X CPUs are rumored to pack six, eight, or ten CPU cores and a quad-channel memory controller inside packages with at least 2000 pads. These chips are the natural successors to Broadwell-E models like the $1650, 10-core Core i7-6950X.

The nature of Kaby Lake-X is not quite as well understood, but rumors suggest these chips will be quad core processors with dual-channel memory controllers that fit into the same motherboards as the Skylake-X chips. The advantage of these processors over standard-issue desktop Kaby Lake chips like the Core i7-7700K may be limited to higher clock speeds allowed by more aggressive TDPs, as well as any feature advantages inherent to the X299 motherboard chipset.

In news that could affect a larger part of our audience, the rumor mill is also churning out speculation that Intel's Coffee Lake mainstream chips' release is being moved forward from January 2018 to August 2017. Coffee Lake is widely expected to be another subtle refinement of Intel's 14-nm architecture, similar to the relatively small changes observed in the Skylake to Kaby Lake transition. Some speculate that top-of-the-line Coffee Lake processors may sport six CPU cores. This would represent the first time that Intel has increased the core count of its mainstream processors since the 2008 release of the first Core 2 Quad processors.

The rumor mongers speculate that Intel is quickening its cadence as a response to AMD's renewed competitiveness in the realm of high-performance desktop CPUs with its existing Ryzen R5 and R7 lineups, the coming Ryzen R3 chips, and the rumored 16-core models and accompanying X399 motherboard chipset. The move could also be somehow related to Intel's cancellation of the Intel Developer Forum conference.

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