news intel no plans for a socketed skylake with edram

Intel: No plans for a socketed Skylake with eDRAM

You may recall that the surprise star of our recent Core i7-6700K review was the Core i7-5775C, a chip based on the prior-generation Broadwell architecture with a novel configuration.

You see, the Core i7-5775C is a socketed desktop processor, but it's derived from a mobile-focused product that incorporates 128MB of eDRAM on the package with the CPU. The eDRAM is present mainly to act as an accelerator for integrated graphics, and it's pretty effective in that role. Intel CPUs with Iris Pro graphics and eDRAM  have been used in Apple's iMac and in nifty little systems like the Brix Pro.

However, that eDRAM doesn't just act as a graphics cache. It's an L4 cache for the entire processor—a big, fast pool of on-package memory that can accelerate any task whose working data set fits into it.

The Core i7-5775C

We found in recent testing that the Core i7-5775C's extra cache makes it excellent for gaming with a discrete graphics card. In spite of a ~30W and ~500MHz handicap, the 5775C often matches or even outperforms the Skylake-based Core i7-6700K in recent games.

The natural next question, then, became: will there be a socketed Skylake desktop part with eDRAM, too? That chip could presumably offer the best of all worlds.

I asked this question at a briefing ahead of today's Skylake product introductions, and the answer is, sadly,  no. Intel has no plans to produce a socketed Skylake derivative with eDRAM for desktop systems.

The firm didn't elaborate on the reasons behind this decision when we asked, but there has been a change in leadership. Lisa Graff, who ran Intel's desktop business for the last couple of years, has left that role, and Gregory Bryant has taken over as Corporate Vice President and GM of Desktop Client Platforms. On Graff's watch, Intel produced several unconventional products for desktop systems based on user feedback, including the Devil's Canyon K-series products, the unlocked Pentium Anniversary Edition, and the socketed desktop Broadwell parts. With Graff out, we'll have to see whether Intel continues to deliver innovative desktop products like these under Bryant's leadership.

There may be some hope. A source familiar with Intel's plans told us that we may see a revival of the socketed desktop parts with eDRAM as part of next year's 14-nm Kaby Lake refresh. The same source indicated that one possible reason Intel didn't choose to produce a socketed Skylake with eDRAM could be the schedule. After all, the socketed Broadwells with eDRAM hit the market almost simultaneously with the first Skylake parts—and they are still scarce here in North America. The Broadwell desktop parts likely won't be available in healthy volumes until multiple Skylake models are, too. Qualifying a socketed CPU with eDRAM takes time, and it's possible a Skylake variant could put Intel in to the same sort of uncomfortable situation yet again. Skipping a generation and going directly to Kaby Lake might make the most sense.

The dimensions of the Skylake CPU and the 22-nm eDRAM chip may also have presented a problem. The two chips have to fit together on a common package. I don't have the exact dimensions of the two chips involved. We know that the packages for the mobile U- and H-series processors with eDRAM are both 42 mm wide. The LGA1151 package for socketed Skylake parts, by contrast, measures 37.5 mm in both directions. It's possible the eDRAM and CPU simply wouldn't fit.

Whatever happens, we're hoping Intel pays attention to these socketed desktop processors with big caches going forward. The benchmarks show that they're especially well-suited for gaming. That fact makes them infinitely more exciting for most enthusiasts than, for instance, the BCLK overclocking measures built into Skylake K-series chips that the company is now somewhat strangely touting as "for the gamers."

0 responses to “Intel: No plans for a socketed Skylake with eDRAM

  1. It should.

    I realize that intel would like you to believe that, but it is actually possible to get a performance boost using an iGPU, and performance boost or “maximum performance” goes with enthusiast like peanut butter and bananas.

  2. The theory that intel is going to kill off enthusiast parts for the mainstream socket (and/or ditch the socket option in the long run) and direct them towards the 1P Xeon socket is looking more and more plausible every day.

    I for one won’t miss the wasted iGPU for gaming systems, but its sad for HTPC and other light builds as fully integrated motherboard designs are almost universally full of disappointment and lack diversity.

  3. [quote<] A number of media have already been requesting an announcement regarding a discrete processor with an eDRAM implementation, similar to Broadwell. I even enjoyed conversations at IDF where it was suggested that Intel could produce an i7 at 4.0 GHz with 128MB eDRAM, either with or without overclocking, and charge a nice $30-$50 premium for it. However, we were told that a quad core desktop part with eDRAM (either 4+2e or 4+4e) is currently not POR, which means ‘plan of record’. To avoid confusion, because technically a 3+2 is not on their ‘plan of record), having been mentioned as not POR means means that Intel has looked at it as an option but at this time has not decided to release it at this time - if they ever will is another question to ask Intel. For users who actively want an LGA1151 4+4e configuration, make sure your Intel representative knows it, because customer requests travel up the chain. [/quote<] Additional info from AnandTech.

  4. Sticking with my 2600k and waiting since it has plenty of performance since I am only pushing a 60hrtz 3440-1440 monitor so my PCIE 2.0 8x links to my SLI setup should not be a problem with its high amount of pixels. 8x SLI setups only get bandwidth problems at lower resolutions and low settings like 1080p.

    I think TR and the other sites should start adding 3440-1440 resolution to graphics cars reviews since they are gaining ground even with the high price. I also believe it is a much better gaming resolution than 4k since I believe am 4k monitor under 32″ is just too small plus 4 times 1080p is a lot harder to push than around 2.5 times 1080p resolution with 3440-1440.
    To be honest I believe 27″ 2560-1440 and 34″ 3440-1440 have plenty of pixels per ” and are plenty crisp IMHO. Allthough I would love a 4k 55″ or bigger 3D capable TV that will do 60hrtz with a PC with a DP connection along with a small skylake HTPC with a Fury X water cooled card since they are so quiet. I think the Nano with make more noise than the Fury Nano’s air cooled system. Just hoping they come out with at least 8MB of memory on the Fury cards when I could ever afford that HTPC system that would end up being powered by my old glorious 2600k and the skylake would be in my new dedicated gaming rig. Money money money.

  5. If your going to go with broadwell I thin the I7 5775c would be the wiser choice since it seems like DX12 will use up to 6 threads so the more the merrier when it comes to threads. Sure it is about 100 bucks more, but if your buying the system to last a long time going top of the line with 6mb of l2 over 4mb of l2 along with 4cores and HT over 4 cores only seems like the best choice for future proofing. I did well with my 2600k decision, now with DX12 I think its life will be a bit longer then the 5 years its going on.
    Also I have not seen the i5 broadwell compared to skylake. So it might not perform as well as skylake and when it comes to future proofing getting the best is usually best. Also with so few DX12 benchmarks let alone games that BTW are kicking azz on AMD cards choosing a graphics card in the next 6-12 months will depend greatly on AMD’s and Nvidia’s performance but so far it looks like AMD’s strategy of looking to the future with current products may pay off in the graphics compartment.
    I would go skylake personally bu if I already had a good Z97 board the I7 broadwell might be my choice. But I expect a devils canyon version of Skylake…plus deliding is easy on skylake to get better thermals if no Devils C skylake chip comes out. Also since the Voltage regulators are now back on the MB for skylake “like it should be on a desktop” and not in the CPU raising its temps . Also Skylakes Motherboards are equipped with double the bandwidth PCIE 3.0 lanes and a lot of them allowing for ultra fast storage along with multiple GPU cards installed. Just my 2 cents and IMHO

  6. They won’t launch a skylake desktop product because that would mean killing sales for the Broadwell ones. If things went as planned maybe Broadwell and Skylake wouldn’t overlap and they could’ve release a Broadwell successor with eDRAM based on Skylake.

  7. No, the problem is that there’s no mainstream killer app.

    Even if there was strong competition in CPU market today. Most of the action would be happening at HPC and server space resulting in more affordable six-eight core chips. The only problem is that mainstream applications don’t really benefit from such chips. The only winners would be prosumers and power users. In the mainstream space it would be just price wars and who has the lowest power consumption (more of a less what is already happening today).

  8. No, it is not when you factor in yields and bottom-line costs versus applications that benefit from having more cache.

    That’s why chips that are loaded with cache are catered towards prosumer crowd which run applications that typically benefit from it. Mainstream chips don’t have nearly as much of it and cache is usually one of the first things that gets “binned”.

  9. In theory, no, provided there’s a NUC-style offering that:
    * runs as quiet as I demand
    * doesn’t throttle under load (while still being near-silent)
    * offers expansion opportunities if I decide to repurpose it later.

    In practice, the only way I can get those requirements is by assembling my own machine. And those are deal-breakers; if there was a NUC/Brix that met them I’d already own one.

  10. You are confusing cause with effect. The effect of lack of competition is small 5% performance increases every year. This causes the older tech to age well, since Haswell is like only 15% faster than Sandy Bridge.

  11. There is no Skylake with 128 mb of L4 cache currently available to buy.

    And from the message above there is no plans to make a chip that maximizes single threaded performance (high clock rate and high cache). There are going to be many core low clock rate chips with high cache and that’s it.

    So I ask again, where is the EE chip to buy if I have the money?

  12. ‘Skylake’ means cloud, right? Waiting for Intel to announce their Processor-As-A-Service plans.

  13. Yes, but you have to buy RAM regardless, not use your existing DDR3. That was my point.

    I was talking about it from a perspective of people who already have an 1150 board. For that segment, drop-in replacement would be appealing; but good luck finding Broadwell (especially in North America) in the first place.

  14. You aren’t joking. This is just anecdotal but I melted some on my sandwich the other day – lunch was over in [i<]no time[/i<] and was amazingly delicious to boot. Also? Threw some in with the laundry the other night and literally everything came out sparkling clean.

  15. *sigh* What is meant for on Broadwell chips. It can be used as L4 cache, but that is only if IGP isn’t being used. Most Broadwell chips are going to end-up in a portable platform.

    Server-tier and HPC-tier chips always are loaded with cache since their applications always love having more cache.

  16. New socket is highly unlikely. We’ve just shifted to LGA1151, Intel does give us two generations on the same socket.

  17. Hope it’s in the next version. It’d be a shame if they ditched this unlikely jewel they found. Normally big caches are just on server stuff so we never get to see the effects on the average joe. I’d pay $30 more for a huge cache. I’d be more likely to pay for that then hyperthreading.

  18. Yeah, but DDR4 isn’t that much more expensive. The difference between the 5775C and 6700K is roughly the same as that between DDR3 and DDR4. And looking at my point #2, people would need a new board anyway.

  19. eDRAM helps high end computing. So it doesn’t matter what it’s “meant” for, they should offer some kind of Extreme Edition that is simply the best at everything for people willing to pay.

  20. When Techreport’s Skylake review came out, I couldn’t find the 5775C at any major online retailer.

  21. Generally speaking, no, you don’t have to build it. But it wouldn’t be ideal.

    Llook at the noise levels of the brix gaming with Haswell and Iris Pro. I think it shows that such a small form factor isn’t best suited to the thermal needs of a full quad-core with Iris Pro. The rest of the brix line use HD 5500 or HD 4600, and even Intel’s broadwell i7 NUC doesn’t have Iris, I expect for that reason.

    Whereas a small ITX case, such as the Antec ISK 110, allows for use of bigger heatsink/fans that can run quieter than the tiny blower they’d put in a NUC. And sure, the ISK 110 is bigger than a NUC, but it’s still smaller than my blu-ray player.

    Bonus: room for extra USB ports, the full port stack from the back of an ITX motherboard (with normal sized HDMI and displayport outputs), room for additional local storage, actual separate digital audio output (which is a big thing for me, because it means I can continue to have the music playing even when the TV/monitor is turned off). Tthe ISK 110, to continue my example, has room for two 2.5″ drives, and a motherboard with an m2 slot would mean you can install three drives, and yes, you can get a NUC with room for a 2.5″ drive, but at that point I have to wonder: why are you buying a NUC if you want to cram extra hardware into it, doesn’t it sort of defeat the purpose?

    I mean, if the Broadwell processors were actually available to buy somewhere, I could buy a 65W i5 with iris Pro, put it in an ISK 110 and have a real powerhouse in a tiny, quiet footprint. It annoys me that they’ve taken away that possibility with Skylake, because it seemed to be that it was a good opportunity for a 35W i7 with Iris Pro to be something you could actually buy. Although I’m not sure which annoys me more: that we won’t be able to do it with Skylake but we know about it up front, or that Intel set it up so we could do it with Broadwell but can’t actually buy the hardware anywhere.

  22. They’re not going to Osborne their current line up by telling us about the refresh parts in the plans. I’m sure we’ll see EDRAM again.

  23. After the review and the surprise revelation I decided to get a i5 5675C upgraded from an AMD 1090T.

    The perceived fluidity improvement compared to the AMD is quite surprising and I am currently very happy with the purchase and it gave my PC new life.

    A few benchmarks revealed that the minimum frames have jumped higher quite a bit and this ensures a narrower range of frame variability with V-sync enabled.

    I would still prefer a G-Sync monitor but for the time being the perceived frame jerkiness/stuttering is much less.

    As always thank you for the review and comparison.

  24. Skylake requires DDR3L or DDR4. Most desktop upgrade users don’t have that. Add RAM, plus a board, and you have far higher cost than just upgrading a CPU.

  25. do you have to “build” that PC using a socketed processor? if Skylake based Iris/Iris Pro is available in BGA form for mobile and gets put into a NUC or Gigabyte Brix style system, is there a reason that wouldn’t meet form factor and performance requirements of “tiny PC that is passable at 1080p gaming”?

  26. Ahem, no.

    The crowd who genuinely cares about graphical performance are going to opt for a discrete solution. As for DTRs, they typically come with something far more robust than any of Intel’s IGP line-up.

    IGP in desktops are meant for no-sense, non-gaming usage patterns. HTPC types care more about outputs and if the GPU is capable of decode/encoding the latest codecs.

  27. There’s a lot wrong with this.

    1. Anyone with a Haswell i5/i7 has exceedingly little reason to get Broadwell, unless they’re chasing 144Hz performance.

    2. Anyone without Haswell could upgrade to Skylake directly and get almost identical performance for the same price, and get a newer platform.

    The only people who would actually see much of an upgrade (or save any money not going to Skylake) would be Haswell owners with a Core i3 or less.

  28. Yeah I know, so much sand lying around, should just melt it, separate silicon and BAM stick it on top of a CPU! [i<]So much faster[/i<].

  29. An AMD rep on reddit said something about DP1.2 to HDMI 2.0 converters when asked why GCN cards don’t support it.

  30. I think the problem is, the system you want to build sits almost squarely in the middle between Intel’s apparent foci. On one end sits servers, workstations and, by extension, those ” big and stupidly expensive desktops”. At the other end is their push into the mobile world, which generally means BGA, low power, and limited necessity for support of output standards.

    Anything that gets built towards the particular purpose you mention comes down to a business decision; it’s a lot easier to trim down a server part than it is to add more functionality to a smaller, mobile part.

  31. Surprise! If you move silicon from the useless gpu to cpu, it will get faster! Imagine if they did more.

  32. I feel that the i5 5675C and i7 5775C would have been a hit if they were readily available in the market. The sad fact is, it is pretty much a paper launch and for a good reason given the lackluster performance of Skylake.

    I believe the poor showing from Intel chips over the past few years is partially contributing to the decline in the PC demand. Enthusiasts certainly don’t see a lot of incentive for minor incremental upgrades in performance. Intel don’t feel the competition from AMD, but they are killing the demand for their chips inevitably.

  33. That’s because supply sucks. Demand would be there if there was enough supply –but it would probably cannibalize Intel’s plans, as a number of enthusiasts would buy Broadwell to upgrade systems, and skip out on Skylake, associated mainboards, and DDR4 purchases.

    It also wouldn’t benefit new system sales much, which is probably why Intel isn’t making an effort with it.

  34. And IGP is meant for HTPCs. And I build my own, as I hate buying locked-in boxes. This essentially makes Skylake useless for me.

    A Core i3 with a good IGP is a great choice for a system like this. Heck, I’d buy an mITX board with an embedded Iris Pro mobile i3 or i5 if I could get one. But it just isn’t out there.

  35. You’ve made that essential reply several times, but I believe even Intel has stated otherwise at this point, that they see uses beyond those categories.

  36. Agreed except for the last point on GT4e. Desktops and DTRs could still make use of powerful integrated graphics, at least I can see where they’d fit in my own companies range of needs. I believe the lack of a 5775C equivalent is 100% an arbitrary feature they’ve held back to justify Kaby Lake’s existence in front of Cannonlake. (Which I totally predicted here)

  37. HDMI is an A/V interface and Displayport 1.2 works fine with current crop of “UHD” displays. There are hardy any discrete video cards that have HDMI 2 ports.

    Displayplay 1.3 capable devices aren’t going to come around until late 2016. You also start seeing HDMI 2 ports appearing on video card in the same timeframe.

    Skylake was meant for desktops and DTRs not portables (Broadwell is for portables). That’s why there’s no GT4e support.

  38. I was going to buy skylake, now I’m not sure I’ll bother.

    No HDMI 2, No DisplayPort 1.3, no GT4e, less than complete next generation codec support, disappointing mainstream chipsets.

    I was looking for something like an i3 with HD 580 in a Mini-ITX H110/B150 board hooked up to an 5040×2160 monitor at 200% scaling (light gaming at 2560×1080).

    Not an unreasonable configuration and and a fairly expensive one by the standards of most computing devices these days. Intel only seem interested in catering to people buying big and stupidly expensive desktops though.

    I guess I’ll cross my fingers and hope that someone produces a decent Skylake H 4+4e MiniPC without too high a premium attached.

  39. Isn’t it being really quite expensive maybe something to do with it…? Here at least the 5775C is retailing for about £300 for which you can get a spanking new 6600K plus motherboard.

    I did consider buying an Iris Pro broadwell for my HTPC (pretty much its ideal use-case) but the price made it prohibitive, even the lower-spec 5675C at £220.

  40. Their real competition among gamers is now their own previous products, and getting those gamers to upgrade. Whether eDRAM on Skylake would be enough to convince Sandy/Ivy bridge owners to upgrade I don’t know, but it would certainly be more compelling than Skylake without eDRAM.

  41. eDRAM is meant for IGP and portable systems.

    Socketed “Broadwells” are just happy accidents. They are silicon that didn’t make the power efficiency cut for portable platforms.

  42. No, it is lack of a killer mainstream application that makes processors from Conroe-Woledale era woefully inadequate.

    Sandy Bridge-era stuff holds up well today and the aging platform that it is tied to is only thing that holds it back when compared to modern platforms.

  43. So what I take away from this article is:

    Someone at Intel screwed up last year sometime, and now they are literally starting over from scratch. This has caused a 1 year hiccup in their tick tock cadence, and has also forced them to reconsider embracing any new technologies in 2016.

  44. well it’s not as if they need the fastest possible desktop processor to beat AMD anymore, so they might as well build whatever CPU they want because it’ll still sell

  45. Frankly, desktop Skylake is simply embarassing compared to 2 year old Haswell.

    Stock clocks: Dropped
    Performance/watt: Stagnated
    iGPU performance: Barely better
    Overclockability: Practical headroom is just as bad as Haswell aka no point spending more to overclock. I simply have zero confidence on reported OCs with sky-high voltages on the longterm reliability side.

    And there I was wishing eDRAM would spice things up, but nope.

  46. The real reason?

    Bottom line costs. Cache mostly helps with server-tier workloads which is why server-tier chips have a ton of it. It is a hit or miss with most other applications. The 5775C shows this. The eDRAM for Broadwell was meant for portable platforms (power efficiency and miniaturization).

    The socketed Broadwells are nothing more than parts that ate too much power for Intel’s liking and were converted to be used in desktop and DTR platforms.

    I also suspect that eDRAM would have made it more problematic for overclockers.

  47. They know that, but they’d rather charge you another $200-$300 a year from now for a new chip with eDRAM.

  48. so that’s what it was. i had no idea why this cpu pushed ahead so much on the IGP benchies. now i know, and knowing is half the battle! This would have been an excellent feature to keep. It would allow for non-4k gaming performance initially before jumping to a discrete gpu. If not for the IGP cache, it would at least serve for L4 cache. I’m surprised that this did not dominate sales and produce more iterations.

  49. Agreed, was thinking this could solve the “I want to build a tiny PC that is passable at 1080p gaming” problem, but if they’re not going to do it, I guess that means it’s… AMD’s move?

  50. [quote<] A source familiar with Intel's plans told us that we may see a revival of the socketed desktop parts with eDRAM as part of next year's 14-nm Kaby Lake refresh. [/quote<] That's because at the rate we are going Kaby Lake [i<]is[/i<] Skylake but with the L4 cache [and maybe a beefier iGP].

  51. that’s where I stand as well, looks like my 2600K is going to hold out a bit longer. Pitty, Skylake and it’s platform almost seemed like the right time to upgrade.

  52. In Intel’s HQ:

    “We’re not too worried about the enthusiastic desktop market. ARM is a bigger threat than AMD, and we need to keep an eye on Nivida’s GPU computing stuff.”

  53. I am very frustrated by Intel’s decision on this topic. I blame a lack of true market competition, plus Intel’s historical trend of largely ignoring demand from the enthusiast fringe. I don’t often upgrade my CPU, and would gladly play an extra $100 premium over the 6700K for an identical model with 128MB of eDRAM. Here’s hoping we’ll see a product down the road that fits the bill.

  54. Interestingly, though, there’s a slide claiming that there’ll be a Skylake part with eDRAM… launching alongside Kaby Lake: [url<][/url<] Note the last line of the first image - "S-processor line GT4 is Skylake processor."

  55. Kaby Lake is supposed to have 64MB (on a few socketed chips and 126-256 on mobile dies) so maybe that’s worth looking forward towards.

  56. I betcha they’d be singing a different tune if the Core i7-5775C actually sold well. Which probably would’ve happened if they didn’t half-ass that the desktop broadwell launch.

  57. Now the prices on the 5775c/5675c will stay high even with more supply because there is no replacement. Err… I really wanted a 5675c for at least as cheap as the devil’s canyon i5.