Intel’s Haswell has been out for some time and it’s not exactly winning a lot of fans.
The company has made the family live with an odd assortment of limitations, including the removal of several useful instruction sets in K-series processors and poor overclocking capability as a result of integrating the VRM (voltage regulation module) onto the processor die – but now they’re also taking overclocking of the non-K processors out of the mix as well.
A oft-forgotten benefit of the non-K Intel Sandy and Ivy bridge processors was that a Z68 or Z77-based motherboard could force non-K processors to clock up to a certain speed. That speed was, per-core, a theoretical maximum of 400MHz over the highest Turbo boost level, turning a Core i5-3470 into a permanent 3.8GHz quad-core brute.
Tech Report has discovered that their non-K Haswell processors had no higher Turbo Boost options when sticking them into Z87 motherboards. Intel slyly removed this functionality and additionally added in support for some useful virtualisation technologies and the new TSX instruction set, ostensibly believing consumers wouldn’t complain about this if they were getting something better out of the deal.
For most people, it won’t affect them. People bought Matrix Warehouse’s computers back when they bundled the Core i7-2600K with a H61 motherboard and there wasn’t much complaining from the consumers. Because of how Intel’s processor prices are structured, you’re inevitably pairing a Core i3 or i5 with a H, B or P-series chipset anyway. For average Joe, it isn’t a great loss.
But for those of us who knew about the trick and used it to save money, it’s a low blow by Intel. Some people hope that the Haswell refresh or incoming Broadwell will bring this back, but there isn’t much hope of that happening, ever. If you want a cheap processor that can over-clock well as well as support all the instruction sets you’d want, Intel has made the choice simple: buy AMD.