Haswell is the code name for the fourth-generation Core processors in the Core i3, i5 and i7 family. Considering the increasing demand for tablets, the new generation Core processor – aimed specifically at tablets – comes just at the right time. Read on to find out more about Intel’s latest Core series chips, which promise significant improvement in battery life and graphic performance.
Improved battery life
One of the most impressive improvements in the fourth-generation Core processors is in the power efficiency. Compared with its predecessor, Haswell shows an increase in battery life of more than 20%. According to news, some Haswell CPUs can use only 100mW of power in the idle mode. While watching HD video in the past required more than 8W of power, the fourth-generation chips need less than 6W. It is also estimated that there will be 10 to 13 days worth of standby power.
New integrated Graphics Processing Unit (iGPU)
There will be four variants of HD graphics available in : GT1, GT2, GT3 and GT3e. Among them, GT3e (also known as HD 5100/5200) with 40 EUs shows a significant improvement compared with the third-generation’s HD 4000 which had only 16 EUs. The enhanced performance will provide higher resolutions for gamers and video editors. However, except the R-model desktop chips, most desktop chips will only have the GT2 graphics, which has 20 EUs instead of 40. Also bear in mind that different fourth-generation processors have different levels of graphics.
Haswell also introduces into the system various new sockets with two options for the desktop. One is the standard LGA1150 for most CPUs, and the other is the BGA/pre-soldered option for the R-suffixed chips. Although R-series CPUs have the best GT3 iGPUs, with 65W TDPs, they are much slower compared with some of their top family parts.
Intel’s WiDi (Wireless Display) technology is not new. It allows users to view the images and video from their notebooks on a TV, monitor or any other WiDi-equipped device, in order to get a better viewing experience. The latest version, WiDi 4.1, improves from the previous one by developing the Panel Self-Refresh power-saving technology, reducing the lag, and including a new touch-friendly interface. WiDi 4.1 will also support high-resolution stereoscopic 3D. But as before, you still need a plug-in adapter compatible with WiDi.
New features for ultrabooks
Besides the new WiDi 4.1, Intel’s Haswell chips also bring with them several new features to ultrabooks. The system enables a much shorter wake-from-sleep time which is less than 3 seconds. It also has perceptual computing interfaces built in, recording gestures and voice with webcam and microphone. Touch screen is made a requirement in all fourth-generation Core i-series ultrabooks.
One of the most significant features of Haswell is the arrival of Thunderbolt, the previously Apple-only dual serial/DisplayPort bus which is capable to deliver data transfer speeds of 10Gbps, twice that of USB 3.0. The introduction of Thunderbolt into Haswell Lyn Point also allows it to handle up to 4K resolution and up to three independent displays.
The concept of modularity, which indicates that one device can be extended to another, can be found in the design of Haswell. Intel manages to minimize the size of Core-series processors by combining the CPU and Platform Controller Hub into one chip. As a result, users can expect to welcome slimmer ultrabooks as well as 2-in-in devices. However, thinner device also means less internal space for air to move around. To solve the problem, Intel has worked to improve the Core series’ heat management.
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