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Sep 12, 2014

Intel Skylake CPUs Will Debut in July 2015, LGA 2017-A Socket Already Out

Intel's Skylake central processing unit series will succeed Broadwell in 2015. This much we already knew. However, we've just been told that the next generation of CPUs and associated chipsets will ship as early as July, 2015.

Admittedly, this doesn't really go against previous reports about Intel Skylake coming out in the second half of next year. However, it's still quite early, considering that it implies that Broadwell will have a market life of just around 9 months. We already knew that this generation of chips would not be as long-lived as others, but it is still going to be a fairly jarring transition. After all, we can't even call the Broadwell architecture “current-generation” yet, unless we count the Core m mobile CPU from Intel. The desktop and laptop chips just haven't been released yet, and won't be for a while still. Anyway, Skylake processors will be launched alongside their own chipsets and sockets, but according to our source they will also be compatible with unusual mainboards such as ASUS X99-E WS, due to its unusual socket.

The LGA 2017-A socket

The name has not been confirmed yet, but it probably will be in the near future. It stems from it being an LGA 2011-3 socket with six extra pins. We actually looked into this matter a few days ago, when it came to our attention that ASUS' workstation board boasts this unusual pin count. Since then, we have learned that ASUS added them so that Xeon Haswell-EP CPUs (and, in 2015, Skylake) would also be compatible with it, in addition to Haswell-E Core i7 Extreme Edition. The “official” reason for the socket pin count is that it adds stability, but the real one is that the mainboard would have had too short a lifespan (9 months) if the socket wasn't modified for extra support. Future-proofed as it were. Hence the so-called LGA 2017-A socket.

An interesting note is that the ASUS X99-E WS is the only ASUS mainboard that appears on both the company's consumer and commercial websites right now. And a commercial board cannot afford to become obsolete in just 9 months.

Four versions of Skylake

Apparently, there will be four types of the Intel Skylake CPU  Skylake-S (SKL-S), Skylake H (SKL-H), Skylake U (SKL-U), and Skylake Y (SKL-Y). We suspect that means desktop, laptop, workstations and mobile, though not necessarily in that order. Meaning that even the Core m will be replaced by a successor of the same name. More importantly, Skylake will have up to 14 cores, perhaps more, and it will work on the ASUS X99-E WS mainboard which already exists. Not bad incentive at all for those who want to make sure they don't need motherboard upgrade for the next two years. It also means that the new Intel Haswell-EP Xeon E5-2600/1600 v3 CPUs with up to 18 cores will have a very short market lifespan as well. We've attached the Skylake spec chart (such as it is) and the mainboard socket comparison for your convenience.

X99 LGA 2011-3 socket vs. supposed LGA 2017-A
Image credits to Titan Apollo

Intel Skylake CPU technologies
Image credits to VR-Zone


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