Operating at lower clock rates with less shared L3 cache and 65W TDPs, Intel’s two new socketed Broadwell-based CPUs clearly aren’t intended to usurp the existing enthusiast-oriented Haswell processors. Power users, breathe easy. That’s not what today’s launch is about. The real star of the show is Iris Pro Graphics 6200, which absolutely destroys anything Intel previously offered for its LGA 1150 interface (not to mention AMD’s best effort to make APUs look good).
In fact, if you were to summarize Broadwell on the desktop in one run-on line, it’d be that a 14nm manufacturing process gives Intel a distinct advantage, which manifests as four IA cores fast enough for desktop workloads and a significantly more complex graphics engine able to hang with many mainstream add-in cards, all crammed into a modest 65W TDP.
From there, you can get into the intricacies: the Broadwell architecture’s increased IPC throughput, a more than doubling of EUs on the graphics engine, major enhancements to the media processing pipeline, 128MB of L4 cache that no other LGA 1150 CPU has enjoyed and optimizations for power, which amplify Intel’s efficiency story. Could you imagine if the company had a version of its quad-core, GT3e-equipped die designed for an 84 or 88W TDP?
Given what we do have our hands on, though, most Tom’s Hardware readers are going to ask, “What’s the point?” Anyone with an LGA 1150 motherboard already has a Haswell-based processor, limiting the allure of an upgrade to Iris Pro Graphics 6200. But if you already have a desktop PC with Haswell inside, you probably have a discrete graphics card too, since HD Graphics 4600 is…well, modest by modern PC gaming standards. Those of you on an older platform would need not only the -5775C or -5675C, but also a new motherboard. You’ve waited this long—why not hang tight for a few months for Skylake and start anew with 100-series chipsets, DDR4 and the return of unlocked 95W K-series CPUs?
Even if the Core i5-5675C and Core i7-5775C aren’t particularly practical right now, we still have to commend Intel for listening. Two years ago, we asked for a socketed CPU sporting the company’s grand effort to showcase integrated graphics, preferably in an enthusiast-friendly configuration. These processors come close to what we envisioned. They’re just victims of unfortunate timing.
Chris Angelini is a Technical Editor at Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.