Earlier this week Intel let a little bit of information leak about Haswell, which is expected to be one of the main focal points of next week's Intel Developer Forum. Haswell is a very important architecture for Intel, as it aims lower on the TDP spectrum in order to head off any potential threat from ARM moving up the chain. Haswell still remains very separate from the Atom line of processors (it should still be tangibly faster than IVB), but as ARM has aspirations of higher performance chips Intel needed to ensure that its position at lower power points wasn't being threatened.

The main piece of news Intel supplied was the TDP target for Haswell ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) parts is now 10W, down from 17W in Sandy and Ivy Bridge. The standard voltage Haswell parts will drop in TDP as well, but it's not clear by how much. Intel originally announced that Haswell would be focused on the 15 - 25W range, so it's entirely possible that standard voltage parts will fall in that range with desktop Haswell going much higher.

Intel also claims that future Haswell revisions may push even lower down the TDP chain. At or below 10W it should be possible to cram Haswell into something the thickness of a 3rd gen iPad. The move to 14nm in the following year will make that an even more desirable reality.

Although Haswell's design is compete and testing is ahead of schedule, I wouldn't expect to see parts in the market until Q2 2013.

Early next year we'll see limited availability of 10W Ivy Bridge ULV parts. These parts will be deployed in some very specific products, likely in the convertible Ultrabook space, and they won't be widely available. Any customer looking to get a jump start on Haswell might work with Intel to adopt one of these.

The limited availability of 10W ULV Ivy Bridge parts does highlight another major change with Haswell: Intel will be working much closer than it has in the past with OEMs to bring Haswell designs to market. Gone are the days when Intel could just release CPUs into the wild and expect its partners to do all of the heavy lifting. Similar to Intel's close collaboration with Apple on projects like the first MacBook Air, Intel will have to work very closely with its PC OEMs to bring the most exciting Haswell designs to market. It's necessary not just because of the design changes that Haswell brings, but also to ensure that these OEMs are as competitive as possible in markets that are heavily dominated by Apple (e.g. the tablet market).

Don't expect any earth shattering increases in CPU performance over Ivy Bridge, although I've heard that gains in the low double digits are possible. The big gains will come from the new GPU and on-package L4 cache. Broadwell (14nm, 2014) will bring another healthy set of GPU performance increases but we'll likely see more than we did from IVB with the transition to Haswell on the graphics side.

Configurable TDP and connected standby are both supported. We'll also see both single and dual-chip platforms (SoC with integrated IO hub or SoC with off-chip IO hub), which we've known for a while. We'll get more architectural details next week, as well as information about all of the new core and package power states. Stay tuned.

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  • A5 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    What are you doing that you think could be significantly improved with more CPU power? Frankly, the days of 50% generation-to-generation gains are long gone. Barring a fundamental change in computer architectures, there isn't much left to do to increase IPC without a gigantic cost in die space.

    Intel could certainly be more aggressive with their clocks on retail products, but then there wouldn't be anything for enthusiasts to do ;-).

    Games are more GPU dependent and largely tied to console hardware cycles anyway.

    Video encoding is better served by GPUs once all the software is updated.
  • Loki726 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    > Barring a fundamental change in computer architectures, there isn't much left to do to increase IPC without a gigantic cost in die space.

    And even with huge die area increases, your single threaded perf gets killed by longer wires with higher latency.
  • menting - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    need to go 3D stacking, which many companies are investing into right now.
  • Loki726 - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    3D stacking is the wave of the future, but it won't help single threaded perf any time soon. Heat density degrades the performance of stacked high performance logic layers and vias are still huge (high capacitance) compared to metal layers.

    The best we can hope for in the near term from 3D for single threaded codes is another level of cache.
  • Meaker10 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    IVB - 35/45/55 (dual/quad/extreme) for standard models

    Haswell - 37/47/57

    Thats a listed increase......

    If it's configurable we could see better cooled designs being quite a bit faster with the same cpu.
  • ImSpartacus - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    That would be neat if they were all 47W and they were configurable up and down to hit the other thermal points.
  • extide - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    I noticed that as well, but the alignment may be different, ie 37w quad, 47w extreme, 57w desktop maybe??
  • iwod - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Since Haswell has many new instructions, surely with some optimization we could see more benefits then 10%?
  • haukionkannel - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    In spesific synthetic test definitely yes, even more. In normal applications... Harder to say... This will be same manufacturing node as ivy, so not much from there, but effiency upgrade seems to be good and that is the most important thing this time. The cpu is fast enough at this moment when compared to competition.
  • B3an - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    "The cpu is fast enough at this moment when compared to competition"

    Thats the problem. I'm disappointed with CPU performance and clock speeds, and its literally all because of AMD. If they actually made CPU's that were any good and could compete with Intel on performance, or just get close, then we would be seeing much faster stuff by now. Even with just clock speeds alone, its so obviously that Intel could be releasing WAY higher clocked stuff, as proven by how well their CPU's overclock. I've got my i7 running 1.4GHz faster than default speed without much effort.

    When there was real competition from AMD (Athlon 64 days) then you would be lucky to overclock a high-end desktop Intel or AMD CPU by just 300MHz because the chips were being pushed to their limits already.

    We could be seeing much higher clocked and lower priced CPU's. But obviously Intel have no reason to do this because of AMD's utter failure to compete on performance. This is exactly why competition is always needed.

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