Intel yesterday revealed more information about its incoming fourth generation Haswell platform at the Intel Developer forum. Haswell, like the current generation Ivy Bridge processors is based on the 22nm 3D Trigate transistor technology, and like Ivy Bridge it is all about power management and graphical performance, while the CPU performance gains remain rather incremental, than ground breaking. Keeping with Intel parlance, the Haswell update is more of ‘tock’ update rather than a ‘tick’ update like Ivy Bridge which was the first processor to use the 3D trigate transistor technology. Also Read - COMPUTEX 2021: Intel launches two new 11th Gen U-series processors
Intel introduced three modes of state for Ivy Bridge – Active, Sleep and Hibernate and with Haswell, Intel has refined these modes of state even further. The Haswell chips will be able to transition from varying modes, faster while using up less power. Intel’s mobile first ethos goes much beyond than basic power management and it prepares to gun for ARM. Apart from adding support for traditional I/Os like USB, SATA, and PCI-Express, Haswell supports traditional ARM interfaces like I2C, SDIO, I2S and UART. Also Read - Top 5 affordable laptops for basic video editing/casual gaming
Intel has even managed to lower the power footprint of the system-on-chip models to 10Watts from 17watts of Ivy Bridge. Basically what Intel claims here is that if one compares an UltraBook with a current generation Ivy Bridge chip with its relative Haswell model, then an user could be looking at double the battery life, which frankly is quite staggering. Also Read - CES 2021: Intel unveils new processors for gaming, business and education
Clearly, with Haswell Intel will be able to compete on an even keel with ARM based tablets in terms of form-factors and battery life while providing substantial performance gains. When one sees the slew of Windows 8 tablets coming out later this year most will be running Intel Ivy Bridge based chips and these devices will have a significant battery life and form factor disadvantage when compared to the Windows RT counterparts running ARM based chips.
On the graphical front also Intel has left no stone unturned. Intel claims that on the HD 4000 graphical variants the performance gulf between Ivy Bridge and Haswell is two fold. While the architecture remains the same as Ivy Bridge which was actually introduced two years ago with Sandy Bridge, Intel claims the next generation chip codenamed Broadwell that will introduce a new architecture along with more performance improvements.
The GT3 graphical segment in Haswell introduces a whole new performance dynamic. AnandTech has posted an interesting comparison between the GT3 unit from Haswell and the GT2 unit from Ivy Bridge. According to the post the GT3 unit in Haswell was able to run Eldor Scrolls Skyrim at 1920×1080 at the same frame rate as the GT2, however the GT2 unit in Ivy Bridge was running at a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. In fact, the Haswell integrated graphics solution can support up to 4k resolutions and that’s quite a bit of firepower for a UltraBook or Tablet.
Additionally, Haswell has a Video Quality Engine that can decode video without waking up the entire GPU. It will also have the ability to ramp up the GPU clock speed without ramping up the CPU clock speed.
Overall, the Haswell chips shown off at the Intel Developer Forum typify Intel’s mobile first approach. Haswell takes the battle right up to ARMs backyard, but this time around gets a truck load of firepower with a lot of longevity. Unless ARM responds fast, it seems like Intel will eventually have the technology to take on ARM in the fast growing mobile segment.
Image Credit: Ashish Bhatia