New Intel Core i 4th Generation Processor: Haswell

The high-performing Core i family of Intel processors recently got a facelift with the newly released 4th generation processor for desktops and mobile usage, with the codename Haswell. The features of this Haswell 4th generation processor from Intel includes:

  • prolonged battery life – 7 to 9 hours
  • improved graphics
  • Ultrabook touchscreens 
  • 10% overall performance increase 
  • legacy PCI support gone

Longer Battery Life

In terms of battery life, a couple of factors are at play here. First, a 22nm design process was earmarked for this processor model, as opposed to the previous Ivy Bridge processor, which was shrunk down. In addition, Intel revamped the idle power scheme so that when the system is idle and then called upon to do work, the processor does not power up fully and minimizes the power neeeded to engage it into a full active condition only when necessary, enhancing the battery life substantially. It is estimated that a user should be able to get 40% more battery life because of the changes. 

Improved Graphics

The display capabilities have been enhanced as well. You had two display choices with the previous Ivy Bridge processor, the HD 2500 or the HD 4000. With the Haswell, you now have several choices including the carry-over HD graphics,  as well as the HD graphics 4200, 4400, 4600 if you’re using an LGA-1150 socket.  With the BGA, you can go with the  higher end Intel HD Graphics 5000, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, and Iris Pro 5200. 

The Haswell processor requires a different chipset, the 8 series chipset. Both the Series 7 and Series 8 chipsets share a number of things in common; they both offer support for a plentiful number of USB ports, although the series 8 chipset increases the number of USB 3.0 ports to six, and it also increases the number of SATA 3 ports to six.

PCI Not Supported

For the desktop users who are still using PCI cards, you will be in for a surprise. All PCI legacy support is gone with the advent of the series 8 chipset used with the Haswell processor. PCI Express, the new standard which supplanted PCI as the far superior bandwidth vehicle, has been around for 9 years now, and has reached the point of full responsiblity.

Haswell Designations

The telltale sign that you’re buying a Haswell processor is by looking at the number following the “i” designation. If you see one that reads “i5 4xxxx” you know it’s a Haswell, since the first number designates the generation. If the first number is a 3xxxx, you know you’re getting a PC using the previous 3rd generation processor.The letter at the end of this four digit number designates what type of processor and what type of PC it is used with. The designations are:

  • H – high end quad-core
  • M – mainstream quad-core & dual-core laptops and certain desktops
  • U – ultrabooks
  • Y – tablets and detachable hybrids

Thus, a processor you see that has the description, “i5-4200U” would be a 4th generation processor, therefore a Haswell, and would be used in an Ultrabook. And while we’re on the subject of Ultrabooks, here’s a bombshell, but with a nice blast. With this 4th generation rollout, Intel is now giving the Ultrabook category a new mandate: in order to be classified as an Ultrabook, the machine must have a touch screen. 

With the decline in laptop sales because of the tablets and their lower price points, it is clear that Intel has “sweetened the pot” so to speak, by offering a tablet alternative; a touch-screen Ultrabook with features found in a tablet. Not only that, but with the energy saving/enhanced battery life being a norm with this processor, it will in fact eventually find its way into the tablet market. Intel has earmarked the Haswell processor for more types of PCs than any previous generation. From the tablet to the laptop to the desktop with high-end graphics, this Haswell 4th generation processor truly does make this Core i family distinguished. For additional information on the Hawell 4th generation processor you can view it at here.


Haswell: Intel 4th Generation Processor – Marketplace Effect

Intel has recently released the Haswell, their 4th generation of the Core i series processor, and it has occurred at an interesting time. Some are viewing it as a factor in furthering the PC industry's sagging sales. I see that as a short term effect; let's also look at this from a more long-term view.

Yes, it's true the price point on the laptop low-end will be in the $700 range and $1300-1600 on the high-end. However, it is also true that with a new generation release (tock), the price will be higher. . . somewhat. Looking beneath the surface of that, let's consider what has occurred with the Haswell release in terms of it's features (or lack of) that are narrowing the gap between laptops (more distinctly Ultrabooks) and the tablets.

Let's consider the changes that have occurred from this 4th generation release:

  • Energy usage has become much more efficient. Longer battery life is the top feature; 7-9 hours are possible now. Users that have considered going to tablets because of their much longer battery life now have a viable option with a Haswell laptop/ultrabook. 
  • Enhanced Graphics capability will be a joy to many users. Users that opted for a tablet because of graphics support may now want to think twice about converting to a tablet.
  • Intel Ultrabook touchscreen mandate; the machine must now have a touchscreen or it is not considered an Ultrabook. Users that love the tablet touchscreen now understand all Ultrabooks will in fact have that capability; no exceptions.

The long-term laptop/tablet marketplace pricing will follow the features users desire for their computing. The features that were so attractive to tablets; long battery life, user interaction, good graphics capabilities, are now available to laptops/ultrabooks. As demand increases, prices should come down. This should drive laptop sales up and stabilize that industry sector.  That sector definitely can use a boost.

It will also be interesting to see the overall PC industry effect from the 4th generation Haswell. Intel has earmarked all sectors; tablet-laptop-desktop-server as candidates for this processor. This Fall, we will see more of the higher-end desktops available with this processor. Desktops with the Haswell will no longer have legacy PCI support on expansion cards. PCI Express is the only game in town now.

Many of you opting for a laptop to tablet conversion may find this is a good time to get a tablet, with the great prices available. However, I believe we will see in the not too distant future, the public being in an interesting position to consider two choices: the tablet, and the good ole tried and true laptop, that can also successfully meet your portable computing needs with similar features.  I see that as a great place to be.

 To get more information about the Hawell 4th generation processor from Intel, you can view it here.