5 Things You Need To Know About Intel’s Haswell
Intel is having a hard time these days. With PC sales on the decline and most of the money going to tablets and smartphones, Intel needs a good jumpstart to get back into the game. This jumpstart comes in the form of Intel’s newest processor, which will debut next week on June 4th during Computex, one of the largest computer and technology fairs in the world. Intel has been pretty good with slowly releasing information about its newest Haswell CPUs, and with only a week left to go until its release, we now have a pretty clear picture of what we’re dealing with.
1. You will have to buy a new motherboard.
Following Intel’s previous track record of changing the socket every two generations of CPUs or so, Haswell will use a different socket from Ivy Bridge, meaning you will have to dish out for a brand new motherboard in order to use the latest and greatest. So for those wishing to purchase a new PC now, they have two options: wait for the latest generation (Haswell), or wait for cheaper prices on the current generation (Ivy Bridge).
2. Integrated graphics power has doubled from Ivy Bridge.
Of course, this will not pertain to you if you are a hardcore PC gamer, but even for the casual gamer, this news is relevant. Intel has claimed that the newest IGP will support DirectX 11.1, Open GL 4, and Open CL 1.2. In addition, the graphics capabilities of the desktop version will be comparable to the Nvidia GT 650 – meaning you will be able to play current games at medium settings without a dedicated card, which will cut down on the costs for casual gamers significantly. However, there is one caveat: the polygon count and graphic qualities of the newest games are pushing graphics cards more and more these days, so don’t expect the IGP to be able to play games that will release 1-2 years from now.
3. Battery life will double.
If Intel is to be believed, the newest mobile version of the Haswell chip will give up to 50% more battery life to laptop compared to Ivy Bridge through the use of more integrated and efficient parts. While I won’t go through all the optimization changes here, you can read up on them on CNET.
4. While Haswell is currently made off of a 22-nm manufacturing process, which is the same as Ivy Bridge, a 14 nm die shrink for Haswell, codenamed Broadwell, is planned for release next year.
If you can hold out on buying a new CPU for another year, you should definitely give it some serious thought. Haswell will be great when it first comes out, but even better than Haswell is Haswell with a 14 nm microarchitecture, compared to the 22 nm when it first comes out. That translates to a significant increase in efficiency, and with efficiency comes lower power consumption and faster clocks.
5. Overall, the actual performance increase from Ivy Bridge to Haswell will only be 10%.
The bottom line is that the upgrade from Ivy Bridge to Haswell will mostly only make sense for people looking to replace their laptops, since the CPUs are not upgradable on laptops to begin with and many of the upgrades from Ivy Bridge to Haswell are optimization-based. The cost for desktop Ivy Bridge users to upgrade to Haswell will be high because, as mentioned in the first item, you will have to purchase a new motherboard to go with the new CPU. For desktop users, it makes far more sense to wait for Broadwell, which will likely come out sometime late 2014 or early in 2015, in which the timing will be perfect for those who’ve only been using Ivy Bridge for the past year or less. However, if you’ve been using Sandy Bridge this entire time, Haswell will make an excellent upgrade.
Well, there you have it. Depending on your situation, it may or may not make sense to make the upgrade to Haswell. It will mostly make sense for laptop users who are looking for an upgrade or desktop users who are still on Sandy Bridge or older. Well, that or you just don’t care about costs, in which case, please buy me a Haswell chip (and motherboard) for my own desktop, thanks.