On USENET newsgroups, Intel outlined an enhanced desktop roadmap, with a new unlocked fourth-generation eight-core and 16-thread processor, codenamed Devil’s Canyon, in addition to an Anniversary Edition of the classic Pentium processor.
First, there’s Haswell-E, the upcoming enthusiast platform. The CPU is stepping up to eight cores and 16 threads (up from the current six-core, twelve-thread IVB-E chips) adding DDR4 memory, and will deploy on a new X99 chipset. The X79 chipset has gotten a bit long in the tooth compared to newer offerings like Intel’s Z87, so this shift should put the new platform back on the cutting edge of technology. No word yet on which DDR4 clock speeds will be supported.
Devil’s Canyon sounds like an interesting compromise, as it won’t end up as expensive as Haswell-E parts. Devil’s Canyon is not exactly a new product, or the name of a chip for that matter. It is an improved Haswell with improved packaging materials. Intel says it was “re-engineered for enhanced performance and overclocking,” so it basically sounds like a Haswell refresh in fancy packaging. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact we like the idea. It’s a tweaked, unlocked Haswell for enthusiasts on a budget – let’s just hope it ends up priced right.
In addition to enthusiast parts, Intel also announced the Pentium Anniversary Edition, an unlocked series of Pentium chips based on Haswell Refresh silicon. Yes, it’s 20 years since the Pentium launched – we’re all getting old. The original Pentium happened to feature a rather nasty FPU bug, but it was quickly sorted out and Pentium arguably became Intel’s biggest brand ever, although at the time there were plenty of punters who criticised Intel from ditching its x86 naming scheme. Perhaps Intel should have chosen a different name for Pentium Anniversary Edition parts, as 586 would really be a blast from the past.
Intel also talked NUC and other emerging desktop form factors. The company has a portable all-in-one dubbed Black Brook and it’s not giving up on the NUC concept, either. Intel wants to make these frugal PCs faster and more responsive, while at the same time cutting power consumption and eliminating a lot of bulk.