ASRock, the honey badger of motherboard makers, just flagrantly outed Intel’s most anticipated enthusiast chip of the year: a 10-core Core i7 CPU.
Sure, we’ve seen dribs and drabs of leaks for months, including Intel’s own accidental disclosure of the Core i7-6950X last week, but no vendors had confirmed the actual core count until now.
“The most unmissable part of Intel Broadwell-E is the flagship Core i7-6950X, which will be the first deca-core processor for the commercial market,” ASRock said in a press release on its website. And yeah, there’s more. ASRock went on to confirm the rest of the line up too.
”While this new CPU boasts a compelling 10-cores-and-20-threads architecture, users require a BIOS update for their motherboards to handle it; this update applies to the rest of the Broadwell-E gang, including i7-6900K, i7-6850K, and i7-6800K as well,” the press release says. ASRock didn’t spell out the specs of the others but they’re expected to be: eight-core, six-core, and six-core, respectively.
ASRock just confirmed that the upcoming Core i7 will have 10 cores. Credit: Asrock
Why this matters: With Skylake and Windows 10 not exactly rocking computer sales, Intel has been increasingly looking to gamers and hardware enthusiasts to get product moving. And nothing builds excitement like more CPU cores, which the Core i7-6950X has in spades.
More leaks than the Titanic
One can’t help but wonder if all the leaks are somehow condoned by Intel to help stoke the the hype-train engine. I asked Intel to comment on ASRock’s confirmation and was given the boiler-plate response that the company does not comment on unannounced product.
Besides Intel’s own accidentally (on purpose?) slip, which confirmed that the Core i7-6950X would hit speeds of up to 3.5GHz and have 25MB of cache, MSI “leaked” news, too.
Earlier this month, MSI said its X99 motherboards were ready for Broadwell-E. MSI’s press release, however, was far more coy and used screenshots and performance numbers from a Xeon chip instead. Gigabyte also quietly added “Support 2016 Q2 coming new CPU” in a BIOS update pushed out in January.
So obviously, this has been the worst-kept secret. The only real unknown is how much Intel will charge for the CPU. When the chip first popped up on the leak radar, many people assumed the price would be $1,000.
Intel has basically charged a grand for its top-end processor since the days of the first quad-core “Bloomfield” Core i7-965 Extreme Edition. That price held when Intel added two more cores to the Core i7-990X. Several generations later, when Intel “gave” consumers two more cores still, for a total of eight in the Core i7-5960X, the price remained $1,000.
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