I hope you like Haswell, because it looks like the chip might be around for a while. An official-looking roadmap published by VR-Zone suggests that Broadwell, Intel’s next-next-gen processor, won’t arrive on the desktop until 2015 at the earliest. Broadwell is expected to be fabricated using 14-nm process technology, and it could come to notebooks before migrating to the desktop. The leaked slide only addresses desktop processors, which will apparently sport refreshed Haswell silicon about a year from now. The incremental upgrade may not deliver much more than a clock speed bump, though.
According to the slide, the Haswell refresh will arrive with a new 9-series platform that adds SATA Express support. The updated Serial ATA interface is based on PCI Express, and it’s expected to offer 1GB/s of bandwidth. This is the second time we’ve seen SATA Express mentioned in conjunction with a 9-series chipset. It seems the feature will be available on all 9-series platforms rather than just the high-end Z97 variant.
Speaking of the high end, the leaked roadmap points to a late-2013 release for Ivy Bridge-E, which will purportedly slot into Intel’s existing X79 platform. That platform’s dual 6Gbps SATA ports and lack of native USB 3.0 connectivity look especially weak next to current 8-series platforms—and most 7-series ones, too. However, we haven’t heard anything an upgraded X89 chipset. An X99 platform is apparently due out with Haswell-E at the end of 2014, and we may not get an LGA2011 platform refresh until then.
At least as far as Haswell is concerned, the roadmap posted by VR-Zone matches what we’ve heard from one of our trusted sources in the motherboard industry. I hope it’s wrong about the X79 persisting until next year, though. Given Haswell’s modest performance gains and somewhat limited overclocking headroom, Ivy Bridge-E could be a good option for PC enthusiasts seeking a more potent processor. It just needs an up-to-date platform hub to match.