Yesterday VR-Zone leaked information on the initial pricing expected for Ivy Bridge-E (IVB-E) processors, which we’ve reproduce in the table below. The LGA-2011 platform is an interesting departure from the norm for consumers, so we also wanted to discuss what’s happening there and why we’re only seeing IVB-E launch after Haswell just came out. But first, let’s start with a discussion of pricing; we’ve included the existing Sandy Bridge-E (SNB-E) as well. (Note that it appears the image from VR-Zone has incorrect Turbo Boost clocks for the IVB-E parts; we provided earlier estimates last month.)

Ivy Bridge-E Leaked Pricing and Specs
SKU i7-4960X i7-3970X i7-3960X i7-4930K i7-3930K i7-4820K i7-3820
Cores/Threads 6/12 6/12 6/12 6/12 6/12 4/8 4/8
Speed/Turbo (GHz) 3.6/4.0 3.5/4.0 3.3/3.9 3.4/3.9 3.2/3.8 3.7/3.9 3.6/3.8
L3 Cache 15MB 15MB 15MB 12MB 12MB 10MB 10MB
TDP 130W 150W 130W 130W 130W 130W 130W
Price (Online) $990 $1,059
$555 $594
$310 $305

There are a few interesting takeaways this round. First, pricing on the IVB-E parts is mostly lower than the SNB-E SKUs they’re replacing. We expect IPC to be slightly better on IVB-E thanks to architectural enhancements, so in general we’re looking at improved performance at lower prices. The 4820K is the exception, priced $5 more than the 3820. IVB-E also reduces the TDP on the highest performing 4960X part to 130W, which makes sense considering the process shrink.

Something else to note is that the upcoming i7-4820K is also priced quite a bit lower than i7-4770K (and even i7-3770K). If you’re not worried about Intel’s iGPU solutions—which is likely the case if you’re considering LGA-2011—the price point is now even lower, and you still get quad-channel memory and additional PCIe 3.0 lanes. Even the LGA-2011 motherboards are priced relatively competitively these days, at least for the mainstream models—LGA-1150 boards with four DIMM slots and at least two PCIe 3.0 slots are only $20-$40 cheaper, and the higher quality offerings can even surpass pricing for LGA-2011 boards.

The more interesting discussion is what we’re not seeing. For one, there’s still no inexpensive hex-core solution; you either spend $555 or more, or you get a quad-core part. Considering the process shrink, IVB-E chips should be quite a bit smaller and therefore less expensive for Intel to manufacture relative to SNB-E, and while reduced pricing is nice many were hoping for a budget hex-core processor.

The other item we won’t see (which isn’t in the above table) is new chipsets/motherboards for Ivy Bridge-E. Oh, there will likely be a few new boards, but this isn’t a new platform launch. IVB-E should be a drop-in replacement for SNB-E with a BIOS update, and all of the Tier-1 OEMs are promising support for the new processors. But if you already have SNB-E, will IVB-E be enough of an upgrade to justify the expense of a new processor? We’ll have to wait for the official launch for that discussion, but at least right now that’s looking like a tough sell.

The question most people have with IVB-E is why it even exists in the first place—SNB-E launched after IVB on the consumer side and over a year after SNB showed up, and with Haswell having just come out we’re still a month or more away from IVB-E. Shouldn’t we be looking for Haswell-E instead? The answer is actually a lot less complex than you might suspect, and it goes along with the lack of new motherboards/chipset. LGA-2011 is basically the consumer version of Intel’s Xeon platform; nothing more, nothing less. Oh, you get unlocked CPU multipliers and motherboards targeted more at the enthusiast market (frequently with tons of overclocking options), and you don’t need ECC memory, but LGA-2011 is just a minor tweak to the single-socket Xeon offerings.

Unlike the desktop world where yearly upgrades are common and even encouraged by the manufacturers, Xeon plays in a different market that doesn’t like rapid change. The server cadence from Intel is two generations of support, so each new platform stays around a lot longer. Bringing in Haswell-E would require moving to a new socket, violating the every socket has to stick around for two generations requirement in Xeon-land. So we're stuck with Ivy Bridge for the next year, with Haswell-E likely showing up in late 2014. Paraphrasing what we said back at the Sandy Bridge-E launch: If you happen to have a heavily threaded workload that needs the absolute best performance, it looks like Ivy Bridge-E can deliver. Professional overclockers are also likely to be thrilled that IVB-E should take care of the cold boot bugs seen on other platforms. But for many users, the new Haswell platforms are likely to be more compelling.

What's going to be in your next build? Are you waiting for Ivy Bridge-E or is a quad-core Haswell more than enough? Or is there something else entirely?

Source: VR-Zone

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  • lmcd - Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - link

    There seems to be nearly zero reason to upgrade. Max 2-3% boost, I'm betting.
  • duncan-idaho - Thursday, August 1, 2013 - link

    20w decrease in TDP is nothing to sneeze at for the Xeon variant. Intel builds the 2011 chips for Xeon, whatever increases the 4960x gets are a peripheral concern compared to the concerns of datacenter types who care a lot more about heat and power and support cycles than they do about a few megahertz.
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, August 1, 2013 - link

    Of course no reason to upgrade, but the gains will be higher.. the switch from SNB to IVB alone makes up for more than your estimate. Then there are ~100 MHz at similar price points and the CPUs should be able to hit higher turbo bins more often (if allowed to) due to the lower power consumption.
  • Samus - Thursday, August 1, 2013 - link

    I'm still rocking a 5 year old i7-950 system on an x58 board (which was originally a i7-920 from 2008)

    Still don't have a compelling reason to upgrade. STILL.
  • IUU - Monday, August 5, 2013 - link

    This is because the whole industry tries to persuade you, that all your needs can be met with less than 10 times the computing power and no storage(cloud nonsense). Don't seek the devil in dark alleys, for it is in the light of day it likes to hide.
  • RU482 - Monday, August 5, 2013 - link

    I think it's safe to say you are no longer Intel's target market
  • Achaios - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    I am still rocking a Pentium 4 single core @ 2.8GHz (Northwood) laptop. The motherboard is an Intel 845 chipset one. Lithography is 130nm and the socket is 478PGA. Date of production is third quarter, 2002. There is still absolutely no reason to upgrade as it rocks 2GB memory and it can run every business software in the market. In addition to working on it, I use it to watch movies while working out on the treadmill.

    Pretty safe to say that if all of their customers were like me, Intel would have gone out of business.

    It will probably take another 10 years before it gets obsolete.
  • YazX_ - Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - link

    if you got SB or IB, there is no reason to upgrade to haswell nor IB-E. its all the same recycled thing with better iGPU performance which only 1% of people care about. to be honest this is a good news for us as our CPUs will stick for a while before the next upgrade.
  • Loki726 - Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - link

    You could always choose to not upgrade your CPU in the past if you were happy with the perf. At least back then you had the option of shelling out more money for more perf. Now you can't.
  • frumpus - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    I got an i7-960, should i upgrade to SB-E or haswell?

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