Recently, we reported that Intel's Broadwell CPUs are still on their way. The late release of these CPUs have left many wondering: what is the point in releasing Broadwell at all? Skylake is already out on the market and taking over the enthusiast market, and there is little reason for owners of high-end Haswell parts to upgrade. Although Broadwell won't win any performance crowns for its CPU performance, it still has something to offer that other desktop Intel processors don't.
Compared to Intel's high-end Haswell processors, like the i7-4790k, Broadwell doesn't have much to offer in terms of CPU performance. The i7-5775c is clocked considerably lower than i7-4790k, and Haswell outperformed it in most of our tests. Although it was faster than other Haswell processors like the i7-4770k, the performance gap wasn't large enough to justify upgrading from one processor to another.
Broadwell doesn't look too much more appealing to owners of lower-end Haswell parts, either. Users who already have an LGA 1150 system with a lower-end CPU might be tempted to upgrade to Broadwell, but if they are shopping for the most CPU performance they can get, Haswell will have more to offer. There is only one real place that Broadwell has an advantage, and that is in the iGPU.
In our Skylake tests, we found the latest chips to have a notable edge over the other CPUs in terms of CPU performance, but the iGPU is significantly slower than that found inside of Broadwell. In a Bioshock Infinite benchmark, the i7-5775c achieved a whopping 89.1 fps, while Skylake's i7-6700k only managed 56.7. That is an enormous 57.1 percent performance gap. The Broadwell iGPU is even capable of outperforming some dedicated GPUs, requiring at least a pairing with a GTX 750 to outperform it.
At first, you might not think this is very important, because it is only an integrated GPU. Although it is true that there are numerous graphics cards on the market that offer more performance, the i7-5775c with its relatively fast iGPU will find a place in the market inside of systems with a small form factor. Inside of compact mini-ITX systems, there are only a handful of GPUs that can surpass Broadwell's iGPU, most prominently the Nvidia GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti. While these GPUs offer better graphics performance, they also force you to spend more money on your system.
Moving to even smaller form factors, there may not physically be room for a dedicated GPU, making the i7-5775c's iGPU the fastest integrated graphics chip option you have. It is less likely that an end-user would build such a small system, but a company developing a NUC-like device capable of gaming, similar to Zotac's Magnus EN970, may opt to use one of these chips.
With Skylake already out, Broadwell admittedly appears lost in the CPU market, but just because it is late to the game and lacks a little CPU performance compared to Haswell and Skylake, doesn't mean it lacks potential. Thanks to its iGPU, the i7-5775c and i5-5675c will likely end up filling a small niche in the HTPC world.