Intel Desktop Roadmap: i7-3970K Coming in Q4, i7-4900 in Q3 2013


If you’re an enthusiast hungry for CPU computing power, Intel will soon have something new for you. However, do not expect too much before the third quarter of 2013. Our sources close to the heart of company told us numerous times that due to lack of AMD offering of high-end performing desktops and workstations, there’s no incentive inside Intel to push for top performing CPUs.

Core i7-3970K coming in a few weeks time...
Core i7-3970K coming in a few weeks time…

Furthermore, we’ve been told that the company is currently planning to change its media policy on the sampling side, as Intel would like to change the perception of the company from a component provider into a solutions provider. Naturally, this leaves the high-end desktop/workstation in a bit of a tight fit, as the roadmap will show.

First and foremost, in a couple of weeks, Intel will introduce its final Sandy Bridge-E part, the Core i7-3970K. This processor will be clocked at 3.5 GHz at stock, identical to the mainstream Core i7-3770K, based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture. Turbo mode however, is set at 4.00 GHz and will offer a 100MHz boost over i7-3770K, becoming the fastest Intel processor on offer.

The Core i7-3970K spec sheet
The Core i7-3970K spec sheet

Naturally, the quad-core memory controller and six-core (12 thread) design mean that this will be the fastest piece of silicon you’ll be able to buy before the third quarter of next year. Around IDF Fall 2013, Intel is scheduled to unveil the Ivy Bridge-E, or the Core i7-4900 Series.

Ivy Bridge-E will come in second half of 2013
Ivy Bridge-E will come in second half of 2013

Do note that Intel will not offer any changes on the platform side of things – both Sandy Bridge-E (i7-39xx) and Ivy Bridge-E (i7-49xx) processors will connect to the Waimea Bay platform, more known as the X79 chipset. This also explains why motherboard vendors from the Far East are preparing not one, but two motherboard refreshes based on the X79. First refresh is scheduled to appear with the i7-3970K (from limited number of vendors), while the second refresh is scheduled for Computex Taipei 2013, with the arrival on market in September/October 2013 (with the launch of Core i7-4930, 4960, 4970 and the rumored 4990 part).

Just like its mainstream parts (which you can buy today) Ivy Bridge-E will be built on the 22nm process using the 3rd gen High-K+ Metal Gate. The quad-channel memory controller supports DDR3-1866 and that’s about it.

All in all, there is lack of excitement in terms of number of products available, but you cannot forget the level of performance this platform offers.