Intel Readies Single-Chip Haswell Platform for Ultrabooks

Intel Haswell Ultrabook System-on-Chip to Consume 15W

by Anton Shilov
11/10/2011 | 11:26 PM

In a bid to make mobile computers in the so-called "ultrabook" form-factor even slimmer and lighter, Intel Corp. plans to introduce special edition multi-chip-module (MCM) powered by Haswell microprocessor and Lynx Point I/O controller. The chip will help to greatly simplify design of ultrabooks and will thus help to expand market presence of such systems.


The single-chip Intel Haswell ultrabook platform will have two x86 processing cores, DirectX 11.1-capable graphics core and dual-channel LP-DDR3/DDR3L memory controller on the same die as well as Lynx Point-LP input/output controllers on the same piece of substrate. The multi-chip module will simplify design of computers on its base, which means more affordable pricing compared to previous-generation solutions. The whole Intel Haswell ultrabook MCM will consume just 15W of power, which will make the platform the lowest-power  high-performance x86 platform ever developed by Intel.

The Intel Haswell ultrabook BGA MCM package will be 40mm*24mm in size (and will be only 1.5mm thick), which means that the total package area will be 960mm2, well below that of currently available platforms for thin and light notebooks.

A slide, presumably from an Intel presentation, describing different platforms based on Haswell-generation microprocessors. The slide was published by ChipHell web-site.

Despite of small sizes, the single-chip Intel Haswell ultrabook platform will be rather powerful as it will sport many optimizations for enhanced responsiveness, will resume in a couple of seconds and will sport a set of advanced technologies like Thunderbolt, NFC [near field communication], anti-theft technology 4.0 as well as various performance-boosting features.

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 chip will be a lot dissimilar compared to available solutions. It is believed that the new Haswell x86 micro-architecture will be substantially different from existing, which will enable further scalability and performance increases. Besides, Haswell will support numerous new instructions, including AVX2,  bit manipulation instructions, FPMA (floating point multiple accumulate) and others. 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, latest power states, etc.