SAN JOSE, Calif. – Five microprocessor analysts gave mixed reviews to Haswell, Intel’s latest microprocessor launched June 4 at Computex in Taipei. The net I took away is the chip is a great piece of silicon engineering, but won't revive a slumping traditional PC market or become Intel's main offering in tablets.
Intel originally pitched the design in 2011 as the killer chip for Ultrabooks, its concept for an Apple Air-like ultrathin notebook. To meet that goal, Haswell would be Intel’s lowest power x86 ever and its first chip designed for its 22nm FinFET process.
But the Apple iPad proved to be an even more formidable concept in the market, forcing Intel to drive its targets for Haswell power consumption to even more aggressive lows than it originally planned. An Intel chief architect on the project hailed Haswell as a near home run across the broadest set of tablet, notebook, desktop and server markets Intel ever targeted.
The chip will come in versions running as low as 6W, driving nine hours of active use. Some users will leave their AC chargers at home “and that’s a big deal,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal of Insight64 (Saratoga, Calif.).
Haswell also sports a new graphics core that doubles 3-D performance over previous Intel on-chip graphics. However, to get the lower power consumption overall, Intel had to trade off higher x86 core performance.
“Haswell is only marginally better than [the existing] Ivy Bridge [CPUs] for most compute tasks,” Brookwood said.
The net result is “there’s still a big gap between the performance of the fastest Intel Atoms and the slowest Haswells,” said Brookwood. “Likewise, battery life is way better with Atom than with the best Haswell,” he said.
Thus “there’s nothing in the ARM camp that can compete with Haswell on performance, and there’s nothing in the Haswell camp that can compete with ARM for battery life,” he added.
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Haswell will come in versions with two or more x86 and one or two graphics cores for tablets, notebooks, desktops and servers.
I too wonder about the doom and gloom we keep hearing. If tablets will go anywhere beyond their current "toy" status it will only be because they can do enough of the PC tasks o take over those roles. I mean, beyond just reading the paper or watching YouTube videos.
The Haswell development seems to be right on target, as far as I can tell.
Agree with shikantaza.
However, sales are sales, and most people use computers for ENTERTAINMENT or INFORMATION not for creating content, which PC's do every well. So tablets will win in volume...as most people have waited for years to get computer technology that only communicates, does not really "compute" and up until recently, their PHONES were not web communication tools.
The three C's of Communications, Control, and Computing are costly for systems that have to be optimized for all three C's. Focus on one C and its cheaper.
I have confidence Intel will continue to do well, and surmount the religious biases that tempt people to use ARM. Both have their places, and Intel is well-motivated to add features for fine-grain power control while supporting that ol' installed software base.
I'm troubled by predictions of gloom and doom based on tablets taking over the world. Not any time soon for serious users - until there is a substitute for a keyboard and high-resolution mouse, desktops and laptops will remain important after the tablet blip subsides.
Remember how small cell phones were for a while? A useful computer can only be made so small before it becomes an impediment.
I have a tablet; it's great for games and email. It's close to useless for anything else, no matter what Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, or Samsung say.
I saw a presentation at USC by the guys from Indiana(?) who did the on-chip regulator research. It's gall-danged efficient - well over 90% - and switches between capacitive and inductive energy storage to maintain peak efficiency across multiple load ranges. There are apparently multiple regulators on chip, so if you idle a processor, you can turn it's power supply off as well. Hard to do that size-efficiently off-chip.
Are we talking about Merrifield Atom in the new Haswell architecture in 22nm (Silvermont - 2014) and 14nm (2015)
Silvermont will appear in several flavours.
-- Merrifield will target SPs (Mot/Google, Lenovo, Nokia, Samsung, etc.
-- Bay Trail is targeted at Ts while Avoton will focus on microsevers
Rick, about which Atom processor are you and analysts commenting about?
-- In 2014 with 14nm Atom, with fully integrated Wi-Fi in digital domain (fully scalable) Intel might conduct a scorched earth market penetration
-- with many OEMs using it, including Samsung, Google/Motorola, Lenovo, Nokia, etc., etc.
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