About a week ago, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) announced its Core X series of processors aimed at the high-end desktop market. The lineup includes processors that have as few as four processor cores and scales all the way up to an "Extreme Edition" part that has 18 processor cores.
Intel's published fact sheet for these products says that the Core X processors with between four and 10 cores will be available first and that the chips with between 12 and 18 cores are "coming soon."
These chips are all expected to be compatible with motherboards that implement Intel's new Socket 2066 infrastructure.
Interestingly, Italian IT website Bits 'n Chips claims that, according to its sources, Intel "could commercialize a new version of the Socket 2066" that would be designed specifically to support the Core X processors with between 14 and 18 cores.
"The new socket will be necessary due to the pretty low [thermal design power] (160W) supported by the Socket 2066," the article states, asserting that Socket 2066 was "designed to support up to 10 core [stock keeping units], not 18."
Here's why this rumor doesn't seem to hold up.
It contradicts what Intel has said
On Intel's website, the company posted a slide deck that details the new chips. On slide 17, Intel explicitly states that the "New Socket R4 (LGA 2066)" is "compatible with all new Intel Core X-series processors (4C-18C)."
Based on what Intel has explicitly said, this rumor appears to be incorrect.
Some additional thoughts
It's a worthwhile exercise to try to understand why this rumor simply didn't make any sense to begin with, Intel's official contradiction notwithstanding.
The argument with respect to power consumption doesn't hold up. Although Socket R4 is designed to support chips with up to a 165-watt thermal design power, it's important to recognize that these high-end desktop platforms are sold with the expectation that these chips will be "overclocked" -- that is, the chips will be run at speeds higher (sometimes much higher) than what Intel officially rates them for.
This process of overclocking can dramatically increase power draw. For example, in a test performed by Tom's Hardware, Intel's Core i7-6950X -- which is rated at a 140-watt thermal design power -- consumes about 144 watts on average in a "torture test."
When the chip is overclocked to 4.3GHz, power consumption under this "torture" scenario spikes to a whopping 233 watts -- well beyond the power that a Core i7-6950X would be expected to draw out of the box.
The point is this: Well-designed Socket R4 motherboards should be able to handle power draw levels that are much greater than the rated 140- to 165-watt thermal design power levels.
Indeed, since all of the Socket R4 motherboards are targeted explicitly at users that will buy these unlocked Core X processors and, in all likelihood, overclock them, I can't imagine that any of the Socket R4-based motherboards that'll ultimately hit the market will have any trouble with processors drawing at least 200 watts.
Additionally, does it make sense for Intel to require its motherboard partners to release new motherboards to support additional members of a product line several months after the initial processor and motherboard roll-outs? It doesn't!