One of the worst kept secrets is Haswell will have four different GPU configurations: GT1, GT2, GT3 and GT3e. As with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, higher numbers mean more execution units, with GT3 topping out at 40 EUs. The lowercase e denotes an embedded DRAM part, with some amount of DRAM on the Haswell package itself (not on-die).

In an awesome scoop, the folks at VR-Zone managed to snag a photo of what looks like a quad-core Haswell die with GT3e graphics. The small package to the left should be the Lynx Point chipset (8-series), while the dual-die package on the right is Haswell + DRAM. The big square die should be Haswell itself with its 40 EU GPU, while the smaller die is the DRAM itself.

Intel hasn't officially acknowledged the existence of GT3e, but it did demonstrate performance of the part at CES earlier this year - targeting somewhere around the speed of NVIDIA's GeForce GT 650M. The DRAM size, operating frequency and bus width are all unknown at this point. I've heard the DRAM itself should be relatively small (~128MB), looking at the chip shot we get some indication but there's no confirmation of the specific type of memory we're looking at here (which obviously impacts die area).

Haswell GT3e will be available both in notebooks and desktops, however neither will come in socketed form (BGA-only). The desktop parts will carry an R suffix. This will be the beginning of Intel's socketed/soldered strategy on the desktop, which as of now is set to work sort of like tick tock - with the first chips on any new process being sold exclusively in BGA packages. Haswell will have socketed desktop SKUs, Broadwell won't, Skylake will, etc...

GT3e use in notebooks will be limited to larger designs it seems. Don't expect to find this level of graphics performance in a low wattage Ultrabook part, but it will likely surface in bigger notebooks - perhaps those driving ultra high resolution panels.

Source: VR Zone

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  • yhselp - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I don't understand how BGA packages would be sold be OEMs. Wouldn't that have an impact on motherboard features and diversity? Intel currently has over 30 desktop CPUs and at least 3 popular chipsets, the four major motherboard OEMs have numerous models in different form-factors with different features based on different chipsets. That's a whole lot of combinations. What if I want to get a certain CPU with a certain motherboard with certain features? Say, low-voltage CPU with a mini-ITX motherboard with THX DSP.

    Is there something I'm missing here? It seems that consumer choice would be vastly limited, even if they put out lots of predetermined combinations, I'd imagine availability would be a mess, even more so worldwide.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but does BGA packaging mean that Asus, MSI, etc. would have to sell you both the motherboard and the CPU solderer to it?
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  • epobirs - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    They'll likely limit the choices of processor available for a particular board. A high-end board will only be offered with high-end processors and low-end boards with the low-end CPUs.

    If you could track down all of the sold $200+ motherboards with whizzy overclocking features and such, you'd probably find the CPUs used were fairly predictable and a small subset of the possible choices. In the case of the boards with OEM updates software, it probably reports back details like the CPU installed when it phones home to check for anything new to install. So the big board makers like ASUS probably have a good idea how the CPU choices for a give category of board work out.

    It will be a hassle for some people but no significant change for others. I imagine at a place like Frys you'll no longer just grab a board off the shelf as the value jumps in relation to the size of the box. You'll probably have to get an invoice printed and pick it up when you pay for it, like a lot of very small relative to price items at retail.
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  • yhselp - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Agreed, but as predictable as CPU/MB combos might be, there would always be off-norm scenarios. And those different scenarios combined would make up a not insignificant part of the whole. Not to mention availability which would be worse than now; I can't see how it won't. I also think that consumer system building diversity would inevitably suffer.

    Let's hope that this would drive MB OEMs to offer better products (solid caps, etc.) with more universal features (THX/Dolby DSP, etc.) as standard. I would be okay with limited choice as long as it's adequate in this way; I my mind that's the biggest issue with BGA packaging, not upgrade-ability.

    After all, what you or me are okay with doesn't really matter, we would all just have to adapt. That's the sad? reality. Let's just hope Intel and OEMs make the right calls.
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  • Tom Womack - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I wonder what all those unconnected pads around the edge of the interposer are for.

    Haswell's voltage regulator on die presumably needs to have some passive components, and if that's a BGA mount then there isn't space for them on the back ... I suppose Intel might have manufactured lots of test chips with various population options, and the real one will only have enough pads for the right number of passives.
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