Intel’s Broadwell-E gaming CPU is a stunner, offering 10 cores for a whopping $1723 – PCWorld

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On paper, Intel’s massive new 10-core—yes, 10—Broadwell-E gaming chips top out at 3.8GHz. But buying one is like purchasing a lottery ticket to free overclocking—without voiding your warranty.

The flagship feature of the new Broadwell-E line is something Intel calls Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, a technology that tests each individual core on the chip and figures out which one can be safely pushed beyond its normal limits.That’s on top of a 20- to 25-percent improvement over its previous gaming chip, the Haswell-E generation, Intel claims.

“It’s the biggest, baddest CPU we’ve ever done,” said Frank Soqui, the general manager of the enthusiast client platform division at Intel, in an interview prior to the Computex show in Taipei, where the chip was announced Tuesday.

Four new chips make up the Broadwell-E family, including the mammoth 6950X, a 3GHz, 10-core beast that includes a whopping 25MB of onboard cache, with a thermal design power (TDP) of 140 watts.  All that power comes at an enormous price: an incredible $1,723, more than $700 higher than the $999 Intel usually charges for its premium CPUs. At $1,089, the 6900K isn’t much better.

Broadwell-E is so powerful, simply playing a single game or running an application isn’t enough. Intel’s new message is “megatasking.” The Broadwell-E chip can handle scenarios where the chip is being asked to one, process 4K games at 60 frames per second; two, encode that gameplay; and three, stream it out at 1080p resolution to a live stream. Who would have thought that CPUs would begin to outstrip everything we would normally think to throw at them?


Broadwell-E is a re-purposed server part. That blank space to the right is server logic that’s been turned off for desktop use.

Speeds and feeds

For the story behind Broadwell-E’s specs, check out Gordon Mah Ung’s deep dive into benchmarks. Broadwell-E’s key improvements over its predecessor, 2014’s Haswell-E 22nm gaming chips, include:

  • A jump from 20MB to 25MB of cache
  • An increase from 4-channel DDR 2133 memory to DDR 2400
  • Several overclocking-specific features
  • Thunderbolt 3.0
  • The new Turbo Boost Max 3.0

Intel considers its four new unlocked Broadwell-E chips its “extreme performance” lineup, perching on top of its existing, unlocked 4-core 6700K and 6600K chips. 

intel broadwell e pricing updated Intel

Though Intel releases its chips in a “tick-tock” cadence—first a process shrink of the previous generation’s core, than a redesigned core on the same process—that pattern doesn’t really hold true with its high-end processors. Intel’s 14nm Broadwell generation was released before the 14nm Skylake chips, but Intel usually waits to release its E-series gaming chips until last. In other words, Intel’s 6700K chips are actually members of the latest Skylake family, which require new motherboards compatible with the latest LGA 1151 socket. But the very latest 6950X, 6900X, 6850X and 6800X chips are all members of the older Broadwell generation. 

Intel’s Broadwell-E gaming CPU is a stunner, offering 10 cores for a whopping $1723 – PCWorld