Haswell – Intel’s New Family of Processors

What’s Haswell?

Haswell is Intel’s new family of processors targeted at the PC and server market. With Haswell Intel has designed a processor suited to new PC form factors – laptops no thicker than 25mm, PC/tablet hybrids, pure tablets and all-in-one PCs.

In particular Intel has targeted the fourth generation chip at serving what it calls the ‘ultrabook’ market. Intel defines ultrabooks as mobile computers thinner than 25mm, with touchscreen and voice control as standard and possibly convertible into either a tablet or laptop.

What’s Haswell’s USP?

Better battery life. Compared to the Intel’s previous PC processors based on the Sandy and Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, Haswell sucks up less power.

A Haswell U-series processor designed for ultrabooks, an Intel Core i7-4650U, can sustain 9.1 hours of HD video playback and more than seven days of standby, according to Intel. That’s three hours more of video playback and 1.5 days more standby than a previous generation Intel Core i7-3677U running on the same battery.

The average application – media player, web browser or office application – running on a Y-series Haswell processor, the lowest power Haswell processor series, should consume around six watts, Intel predicts.

The lower energy consumption is particularly important for a processor designed to be squeezed into thin laptops and tablets, as pushing down power draw means cooler chips and reduces the heatsink and fan size, as well as allowing tablets to operate fanlessly.

What else is Intel promising for Haswell ultrabooks?

Haswell-based ultrabooks and tablets will be able to “wake” from sleep in under three seconds, compared to the seven seconds it took devices based on previous gen Intel processors to wake. This is thanks to “extremely low power” state, known as S0ix.

Applications running on a Haswell system will also be able to receive data while in this low-power, so an email client would be able to refresh its list of emails while in this mode.

So Haswell’s all about battery life?

No, the other standout feature of the new processors is the performance of their integrated graphics cores. The highest end graphics core, the Iris Pro, is capable of running some of the latest games without a dedicated graphics card, albeit not at the highest settings, roughly matching the performance of a sub-£100 card.

Game benchmarks at 1080p released by Intel show the Iris Pro delivering an average of 131 FPS in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 at medium detail settings and 38FPS in the latest Tomb Raider game at medium settings.

The integrated graphics are a good deal more powerful than Intel’s earlier offerings. The second most powerful Haswell graphics core, the Intel Iris HD5100 in a 28W i7-4558U, delivered twice the performance in 3DMark 2011 of an integrated graphics core in an Intel third generation i7-3687U.

All Intel Haswell processors include integrated graphics cores based on a new chip design. The performance of these cores vary, from the high end Intel Iris Pro and Intel Iris variants, found in select Core i7/i5/i3s, to the lowest level Intel HD Graphics. These cores support DirectX11.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.0, a three collage screen display and enhanced 4K by 2K resolution. The graphics chip also includes faster Intel Quick Sync Video and JPEG/MPEG decode and transcoding.

 

Source: techrepublic

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