At the Intel Developer Forum 2012, Intel Corp. revealed the first official details about code-named Haswell micro-architecture, which promises to revolutionize personal computing. Thanks to significant decreases of power consumption, the world's largest chipmaker expects Haswell chips to power all types of PCs, from desktops to notebooks to tablets. Moreover, Haswell will not sacrifice performance for power consumption and will deliver blazing speeds.
"The [next]-generation Intel Core processor family and our new line of low-power processors will usher in an era of unprecedented innovation in mobile computing. Our focus to deliver even lower power with the great performance that our processors are known for is as fundamentally significant as when we shifted our development focus beyond sheer processor speed in 2001. As a result, you will see our customers delivering sleek and cool convertible designs, as well as radical breakthrough experiences across a growing spectrum of mobile devices," said David "Dadi" Perlmutter, chief product officer of Intel.
Intel managed to reduce the platform idle power of Intel Core processor family based on the next-generation "Haswell" micro-architecture by more than 20 times over the Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" chips while delivering high performance and responsiveness. Mr. Perlmutter also said Intel will add a new line of even lower-power processors based on the same micro-architecture to its roadmap starting in 2013. To spur even more innovation in mobile computing, Intel plans to offer Haswell-based products with power consumption as low as 10W to enable thinner, lighter ultrabooks, convertible and tablet designs with better performance and battery life.
Intel Haswell microprocessors for mainstream desktops and laptops will be structurally similar to existing Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" and "Ivy Bridge" chips and will continue to have two or four cores with Hyper-Threading technology along with graphics adapter that shares last level cache (LLC) with processing cores and works with memory controller via system agent. The processors that belong to the Haswell generation will continue to rely on dual-channel DDR3/DDR3L memory controller with DDR power gating support to trim idle power consumption. The chip will have three PCI Express 3.0 controllers, Intel Turbo Boost technology with further improvements and so on.
On the micro-architectural level the Haswell chip is almost completely different compared to available solutions. To improve parallelism and performance of Haswell, Intel incorporated a new branch prediction mechanism, increased buffer sizes, added FMA execution units, improved load/store bandwidth and redesigned many other things. Besides, Haswell supports numerous new instructions, including AVX2, bit manipulation instructions, FPMA (floating point multiple accumulate) and others. Additionally, Haswell incorporates new instructions for faster encryption and new hardware-based security features.
The new graphics core based on Denlow architecture is projected to support such new features as DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 3.2+, to be substantially more powerful and to be certified to run numerous professional applications.
Intel Haswell chips also implement a number of aggressive measures to trim power consumption, including power aware interrupt routing for power/performance optimizations, configurable TDP and LPM, DDR power gating, power optimizer (CPPM) support, idle power improvements, new power states, etc.
According to unofficial information, the first Intel Core "Haswell" processors are due on the market in mid-2013.