Haswell might not mean much to many users but it is extremely essential. It represents the latest processors from Intel. The technology supports many of today's computers, hybrids, tablets and ultrabooks.
Users can spot a Haswell machine by looking at the name of the processor. If the label says Core i3, i5 or i7 chip followed by the digit 4, then it is the latest chipset from Intel.
What Haswell Brings to the Table?
Haswell bring two important things: better performance and improved battery life. These two are the lifeline of portable devices. These also make Haswell an important component in all these devices.
Design improvements on the chipset focus on using power more efficiently. It seemed Intel wanted to reduce power consumption without compromising performance. Individual cores within the processor can transfer data around 25 percent faster compared to the Ivy Bridge processors last year. This means Intel managed to fine tune power consumption.
The tri-gate transistors also make sure the chipset consume less power and do so more efficiently.
These power-saving improvements will specifically apply to low-power devices. By transferring the chipset into the same package as the processor, the processor wastes less heat and gains better power control.
In addition, the new-generation Intel processors are not just about power usage. Intel has also made considerable changes on the graphics. Majority of Haswell processors feature integrated HD Graphics 4600 chip. This works with 20 upgraded execution units running up to 1,200 MHz. This is a big improvement from the 16 units found in older chips.
This allows users to play casual games at improved and better settings compared to older chipsets. Haswell boosts this further as Intel also included their best-ever integrated graphics cores in the set. The HD Graphics 5000 GPU features an impressive 40 execution units. Its Iris Pro Graphics 5200 and Iris Graphics 5100 also offers 40 cores. The Iris Pro also provides 128 MB of dedicated memory, which is a first for Intel.
The cores are also only available to a limited set of chips. Thus, it can be challenging to find them.
As for processing performance, Intel made some minor changes. In the new architecture, the system processes updates to caches and internal buffers. This means the process of handling tasks and their order has improved.
Intel's upgrades meant considerable changes in benchmark test results. As mentioned, the major improvement is in terms of battery life. For instance, Apple's Macbook Air 11-inch can last up to 9 hours, while the 13-inch model can last up to 13 hours or more. This changed the standard for portable computing especially in laptops. The graphics cores posted major improvements, too. Haswell chip test resulted to 38 fps. This is a leap from 24 fps from the previous year's Core i7-3770K and 17 fps of Intel's flagship Core i7-2600Ki.
Types of Haswell
There are three types of Haswell chips. These include Core i3, i5 and i7 ranges. Core i3 is for budget parts, i5-branded CPUs go with mid-range and i7 are for the high-end and powerful consumer chipsets and devices.
Regardless of the user choice, people should always check the Turbo Boost speed. The Turbo Boost speed refers to the maximum speed processors can reach. Some of the lower-end chips have this feature. It is also better to choose cores that are Hyper-Threaded, which gives the core ability to process two tasks simultaneously.
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