Back in September, I penned a column discussing my thoughts on Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) upcoming Broadwell-E processor aimed at desktop PC enthusiasts. To recap, Intel offers two processor lines for desktops processors: its mainstream line and its high-end desktop product line.
The mainstream chips feature between two and four of Intel's latest CPU cores and also include an integrated graphics processor. These chips are derived from the company's high-performance laptop chips. The high-end desktop chips tend to be about a generation behind in CPU architecture, but they make up for it by including more cores, more cache, and lots more memory bandwidth.
At any rate, in the aforementioned article, I argued that Broadwell-E, the upcoming high-end desktop processor from Intel, probably wouldn't do much for the company's high-end PC chip business.
The basis of this argument was that Broadwell-E would essentially be available in the same core count configurations as the prior generation Haswell-E and wouldn't offer much in the way of a compelling upgrade for existing Haswell-E owners.
It would seem, though, that Intel has decided to make its Broadwell-E lineup much more interesting than previous leaks have suggested, which could mean good things for its enthusiast desktop business in 2016.
More cores, better value
Previous leaks had suggested that Intel would offer Broadwell-E in both six-core and eight-core configurations -- identical to what Haswell-E ships in. However, according to a new leak from generally reliable XFastest, the highest-end Broadwell-E part will actually feature 10 cores.
Below the highest-end model, Intel will apparently offer an eight-core version as well as two six-core parts, according to the leak.
Pricing has not yet leaked for these parts, but I don't think Intel will price the top model at more than $999, which is what the current 8 core/16 thread Haswell-E part goes for.
This should help spur enthusiast PC processor sales next year for a couple of reasons:
- The 10 core/20 thread model is a clear step up in performance and value over the current 8 core/16 thread parts, so users who might have been planning to wait for Skylake-E to get more cores might be tempted to hop on board the Broadwell-E bandwagon. This part should also be a nice upgrade for current 8 core Haswell-E owners who want to upgrade.
- The 8 core/16 thread Broadwell-E chip should offer better performance than the current $999 Haswell-E model and should be priced even lower to boot. This could prove a compelling part for both new system buyers and users of 6 core Haswell-E parts who want to upgrade without needing to spend $999.
It will be interesting to see how Intel ultimately prices these parts, but I do think it will be able to price them in a way that not only leads to additional demand, but can also have a positive impact on average selling prices. When the prices are official, I plan to offer analysis and a more specific set of predictions.
A smart move from Intel
All told, I am glad to see that Intel revised its original plans for Broadwell-E and is planning a product stack that is much more compelling to PC enthusiasts. From a personal perspective, I was very much ready to write off Broadwell-E as an uninteresting refresh of the Haswell-E line, but if the leaks are correct, I plan to upgrade the Haswell-E processor in one of my own desktops to a Broadwell-E processor.
Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends 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.