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Intel’s Low Powered Jewel of a CPU, But You Can’t Buy It

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.

Intel_Core_i7_right_side

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 !

cebsVcHaogh6
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!

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8 comments on “Intel’s Low Powered Jewel of a CPU, But You Can’t Buy It

  1. Geek Fourth Dimension
    2014/01/31

    I too have been drooling over these low-power Haswell Xeon CPUs and am in the process of building a server with a E3-1265LV3… more kick to it than the 30, and integrated graphics. As far as the most-awesome however… I have to say that the E3-1220L running something like 15W TDP is freaking nuts. My problem has been sourcing them as well… however I have found Mouser.com who seems to want to sell to me.

    • Ian Cutress
      2014/01/31

      I’ve seen a few places that mention them, but they tend to be the ‘we will get them in when you order them’ and then fall over when they can’t. Put it this way, I had a hard time getting one direct from Intel for a review – they sent the i7-4765T instead, which was the centre point for my ASRock M8 review.

  2. Giggitygoebbels
    2014/02/08

    The 1268L have stronger IGP,but lower clock speed than the 1265L,and is meant for Embedded Systems instead of Server Systems.Also,you should be able to indent the e3-1230Lv3 at shops,though the price might be higher than normal or it needs to be bought in bulks of at least 5.

    • Ian Cutress
      2014/02/10

      Ah just a typo there, will correct it 🙂 I think the issue here is how Intel sells the CPUs. If you look at the pricing, there is a tray and a box price – the tray price is for OEMs buying in units of 1000s. The box price will be the on-the-shelf price for an end user. If you are lucky, you might find an etailer that will sell the OEM only CPUs, or via eBay users might break apart the OEM systems and sell those CPUs, but we might have to wait a while.

  3. jdai
    2014/04/20

    I think the reason is over simple: Intel has no E3-1265L v3 to sell to anybody, they faced problem to mass produce it.

  4. nutty123
    2014/07/29

    currently in Europe i am able to get all these wo a problem

    chip passmark cpu speed tdp price
    1246 v3 (3.5-3.9) @3.5ghz:10275 (84W) 240 €
    1265Lv3 (2.5-3.7) @2.5ghz: 8860 (45W) 250 €
    1230Lv3 (1.8-2.8) @1,8ghz: 7345 (25W) 225 €

    at idle they would probably all consume about the same
    with only price and performance in mind the 1246 would be preferred.

  5. PlanIT Computing
    2014/08/16

    Available now to purchase on Amazon for a hefty $6,999.99 🙂

  6. Kiera
    2016/12/07

    A great place to shop all your coupons is a baseball-card case.

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This entry was posted on 2013/10/07 by in Technology and tagged , , , , .
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