As I said in the introduction of this review the Broadwell launch comes at a very weird time for consumer with Skylake right around the corner. It is very hard to overlook Broadwell because of this, but let’s first talk about some of the great features that Intel did pack into this processor.
The two biggest changes we see from Haswell to Broadwell is the Iris Pro 6200 graphics and power efficiency. This Iris Pro 6200 has 48 execution units compared to only 20 on Haswell. As you can see from our integrated graphics testing there was quite a difference in performance there. Power efficiency has been greatly improved with Broadwell. You have lower power consumption compared to Haswell with around the same performance, which is impressive. There are also quite a lot of different power settings you can toy around with in the BIOS and there are new standby power modes too.
This processor is fully unlocked, which means you can overclock it to your liking, or as high as you can get it with your current setup. I was able to get the chip up to 4.3 GHz at 1.3V which is not too bad at all. Although overclocks were not as good as what we could get with Haswell. As I mentioned the CPU seemed to be very sensitive to power and voltage changes. The 128MB of eDRAM can be overclocked as well, but it did not seem to work correctly just yet.
I think that is one of the big things about Broadwell, at least currently, is that many motherboard manufacturers have been slow to roll-out BIOS’s to enable all of the features of the processor. Like I said we had to get a newer BIOS directly from ASUS to even have the eDRAM ratio menu since the one listed on their site did not have it yet. This also probably has a lot to do with overclocking, as the architecture matures it becomes more stable.
That brings us back to when these processors were launched. It would have been great to see Broadwell launch when they had initially planned for it. But with Skylake supposedly coming in August that does not leave much room for Broadwell. If you are currently on a Haswell chip there really is no reason to switch to Broadwell as Haswell performs better since it is clocked higher. Even if you are building a new system it is likely you are going to wait for Skylake.
I think that if you are looking to do integrated graphics though this is one of the best solutions out there. The Iris Pro 6200 graphics are very impressive and can compete with entry-level discrete solutions. It is the best integrated solution that Intel has put out to date! If Broadwell is any indication of where Intel is going in terms of integrated graphics and power efficiency then we are all for it!