Brothers in Gaming and Tech
In the recently posted news regarding ASRock’s M8 case, this barebones has a small issue that is worth noting. The motherboard is a four phase solution, using only a single 4-pin power connector and no heatsink on the power delivery ICs. Couple this with the low profile cooler requirement, and we can make the observation that there will be no high-powered overclocked chip for this build. If anything, the ideal chip would be something powerful but power saving. As the system is build around Intel’s 4th Generation CPUs, codename Haswell, this would point to any processor that is low powered and ends in a -T. Haswell offers the following consumer CPUs in this market that are under 50W:
i7-4770T (45W, 4C/8T, 2.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz, 8MB L3)
i7-4765T (35W, 4C/8T, 2.0 GHz to 3.0 GHz, 8MB L3)
i5-4670T (45W, 4C/4T, 2.3 GHz to 3.3 GHz, 6MB L3)
i5-4570T (35W, 2C/4T, 2.9 GHz to 3.6 GHz, 4MB L3)
i3-4330T (35W, 2C/2T, 3.0 GHz, 4MB L3)
i3-4330TE (35W, 2C/2T, 2.4 GHz, 4MB L3)
… and some others in the Celeron/Pentium range.
So the best out of the bunch is arguably the i7-4765T. This is a 35W quad core processor with hyperthreading for eight threads with a full 8 MB of L3 cache and runs at a top turbo bin of 3.0 GHz for single threaded loads.
This processor, when running at full tilt, would be on par (if not better than) an i5-4670K, and have 2MB more L3 cache.
Sounds good, right? Almost.
Intel hide a secret up their sleeve that most consumers do not even consider – the server range of processors. These are arguably more important for Intel, as they are the big sellers and highest margin numbers, especially those at the top end. They are binned for extremely good voltage/power characteristics, and have all the extra Xeon stuff turned on.
So in terms of Xeon applicants, we have:
E3-1268L v3 (45W, 4C/8T, 2.3 GHz to 3.3 GHz, 8MB L3) (GT2 IGP)
E3-1265L v3 (45W, 4C/8T, 2.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz, 8MB L3) (GT1 IGP)
E3-1230L v3 (25W, 4C/8T, 1.8 GHz to 2.8 GHz, 8MB L3) (no IGP)
E3-1220L v3 (15W, 2C/4T, 1.1 GHz to 1.3 GHz, 4MB L3) (no IGP)
Blink and you miss it – the E3-1230L v3 is a 25 watt quad core processor with hyperthreading that runs at 2.8 GHz single threaded. At full multithreaded mode, at 1.8 GHz with 8 threads it would be on par with an i5-4670K in peak workloads.
THIS MEANS A PERFORMANCE PER WATT INCREASE OF 3.4x !
Image of the non-L version from cpu.zol.com.zn
25W part (E3-1230L v3) versus an 84W part (i5-4670K), almost performing the SAME depending on the workload!
Am I going mental here? For 25 watts, we lose a little on the single thread, it costs a little bit more than the 4670K, but we are 3.4x better off on the performance per watt. That is INSANE.
There is a downside to this CPU. Intel won’t sell it to you.
Most Xeons fall under the OEM-only route, meaning that they are sold in batches to system integrators like Dell, HP and the like. A few make it into the boxed models, but only those Intel seem to have earmarked, and the E3-1230L v3 is not part of that equation.
Now, normally users can buy OEM processors, meaning they get limited warranty and no CPU cooler. I have purchased several over the years, but I cannot find any of the E3-1230L v3 confirmed in stock at home or abroad – all are saying ‘stock in 1-2 weeks’. This is despite Intel having an official release date back in June. It is so rare infact that none of the regular sellers of rare CPUs on ebay seem to have one.
What makes the E3-1230L v3 doubly ideal for this ASRock M8 build is that the M8 is designed for discrete GPU usage, and that IGP doesn’t need to apply (unless you need QuickSync or another similar feature). All the consumer Haswell CPUs come with an IGP, and this E3 doesn’t have one, meaning die savings and lower power consumption.
So there are two ways that Intel could improve this processor – with it being low power, how about sticking two on the same package? Perhaps this is a long shot depending on die area, and the fact that Intel only ever did that with the original dual cores. OK then, how about a Crystalwell SKU.
For now, I urge Intel to release this E3-1230L v3 SKU to the public. It is the ultimate low power processor ideal for non-IGP based builds.
The fall back of course is the i7-4765T, which is slightly faster, has IGP and has a 10W higher TDP. That’s a 40% increase in potential power consumption, but it seems that is the processor I will have to go with for now. E3-1230L v3 would be ideal!