Intel's desktop CPU lineup is split between its mainstream processors, mid-range i-Series units, and high-end *-E series "Extreme" microprocessors. The current relevant models are, as many of you already know, Haswell (i5-4670K, 4770K, others) on the 8-series Lynx Point chipset (1150-pin socket) and Ivy Bridge-E (i7-4930K, 4960X, others) on the X-class X79 Patsburg chipset (2011 pins).
Image source: VR-Zone's June, 2013 leak of HW-E's initial specs.
Rolling into 2013, Haswell was ramping up for its Performance (i-series) product launch with Ivy Bridge-E in tow; the previous generation always launches its extreme series CPU just after the mainstream launch of the impending generation, in a somewhat opposite fashion from the GPU industry. Now, with 2014 effectively here, we'll see Haswell-E launch with DDR4 support in roughly Q3 2014.
From what we know so far, the successor to IB-E's X79 chipset will be X99, which introduces DDR4 memory support to the enthusiast market. AMD and Intel both recognize that DDR4 will be a "big deal in the enthusiast market" (quoting my recent call with AMD), and have begun working on implementation of the faster RAM technology. From what we understand, initial native DDR4 support on X99 will reach up to 2133MHz frequencies. DDR4 as a technology will range from 2133MHz to 4266MHz frequencies (with Enterprise being the initial landing zone); this is against DDR3's 800MHz-2133MHz native operating frequencies. We are yet unsure what overclocking support will look like on X99. Along with the frequency advances and higher datarate, DDR4 will optimize for lower voltages, targeting a 1.05-1.2V range vs. DDR3's 1.2-1.65V range.
Haswell-E will use an LGA 2011-3 socket type with new keying, so as is routine, IB-E and HW-E will not be compatible / interchangeable.
We also know that HW-E will ship with Intel's first consumer-class eight-core CPU.
This is all known information, but I wanted to bring everyone up-to-speed before dropping the actual news. News website Digitimes claims to have sources close to the supply that have priced HW-E's launch at roughly $1000 for the first drops, putting it at around the expected price for *-E processors. IB-E and SB-E had similar initial price-points, and later introduced $500 and $320 options. We should see it crop-up around Q3 2014.
We'll hopefully have a chance to talk with Intel about this in more depth while at CES 2014 in 10 days.
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.