At the very highest end, we see that the current generation Haswell-E products for high-end desktops will remain the company's flagship product until the first quarter of 2016, when it will be replaced by the 14-nanometer Broadwell-E. That said, it's what Intel is doing in the more mainstream segment of the desktop PC market that's quite interesting.
Broadwell and Skylake to be in market together for socketed desktops
If you look at the "S" processor roadmap above, note that Intel plans to launch an "unlocked" socketed Broadwell chip. More interesting, however, is that Intel plans to launch an unlocked socketed Skylake chip in the third quarter of 2015, less than a quarter after the unlocked Broadwell chip is launched.
The Broadwell-K chip is expected to plug into the same boards as the current Haswell Refresh chips, while the Skylake-K will only work in new boards designed for it. Also note that the Broadwell-K chip is rated at a 65-watt thermal design power, but that the Skylake-K is rated at 95-watts. This implies that the Broadwell-K will be a lower performing part than Skylake-K (since they are both built on the same 14-nanometer process).
It seems that Intel wants to provide an easy upgrade path for Haswell users without requiring a board/memory change, but is also launching Skylake for those looking for a more substantial upgrade.
Skylake-U coming soon, too?
These days, Intel is big on pushing extremely small form factor PCs (as well as relatively low-cost all-in-one PCs) using Ultrabook-class chips. Note on the roadmap that Intel expects Broadwell-U to be the big runner for these types of systems in the first half of 2015, but that Skylake-U comes in during the second half of 2015.
Since these parts will also go into thin and light notebooks, we can probably assume that Intel expects to ship Skylake-U chips into laptops starting in the third quarter of 2015. Broadwell-U should be very short-lived, indeed.
Braswell coming sooner than expected?
Finally, according to the roadmap, Intel plans to launch both dual- and quad-core variants of its Braswell Atom-based system-on-chip for low-cost/low-power desktops in the early second quarter of 2015. That's interesting, particularly in light of the very-reputable CPU-World's report that Braswell was delayed into the July- August timeframe and Intel's own public statements at its investor meeting that Braswell is a second-half of 2015 launch.
Perhaps Intel will launch Bradwell for low-cost desktops first and then launch the notebook-oriented Braswell chips later. That said, given that Intel has publicly stated that it has been shipping its Cherry Trail chip aimed at tablets to customers as of early January, and given that Braswell is based on the same architecture (with minor tweaks to make it suitable for PCs), it wouldn't surprise me if Intel was simply being overly cautious on the Braswell launch schedule given to investors late last year.
It's going to be a 14-nanometer year for Intel
By the end of the year, it looks as though Intel will have transitioned the vast majority of its product line to the 14-nanometer manufacturing technology node. Everything from low-cost desktops and notebooks to higher-end PC chips should be running on either Skylake or Broadwell. Intel even plans to have its first Broadwell-based micro-server chips out by the second quarter of this year according to CPU World.
Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.