Haswell CPUs – The Next Line of Intel Processor Architecture

Since the release of the Sandy Bridge line of processors, Intel has shown no signs of loosening its grip on the control over the high-end CPU market. And, their strength in the most important market in the computer industry (processors) will strengthen even more with their June release of their latest CPU architecture, Haswell.

While it’s true that the Haswell architecture will not completely reinvent the wheel and rock the foundations of the industry, it does give reason for all computer enthusiasts to get excited. With that being said, if you already have one of the latest lines of Intel processors (Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge) in your desktop or gaming rig, and you’re using a discrete video card along with it, then the added benefits of a Haswell processor probably won’t be relevant to you.

However, if you’re looking for an upgrade over your outdated system, you might want to consider getting a Haswell-based system, or you may even want to consider building your own computer and making a Haswell processor the center of your build.

One area where Haswell will definitely make leaps and bounds, is in the mobile computing department. This is especially important for gamers/graphics designers who are working from a laptop. The integrated graphics in Haswell processors (called Haswell GT3 or HD 4600) will be twice as powerful as the integrated graphics (HD 4000) in the current Ivy Bridge processors. This will be a huge development for anyone looking for a solid gaming laptop or graphics workstation.

In this post I will go over some of the benefits of the soon-to-be-released Haswell processors and why you should consider them for your current or future computer.

A Breakdown of Haswell Processors… The Good, the Bad, and the Unchanged

What follows is a breakdown of the good, the bad, and the unchanged features of the upcoming Haswell processors:

The Good

  • Haswell chips are, on average, expected to feature a 10% increase in performance over the Ivy Bridge architecture.
  • The Haswell GT3 integrated graphics are expected to be twice as powerful as the Ivy Bridge’s HD 4000 integrated graphics. This is big news for anyone who needs graphics processing power on a laptop…

The Bad

  • Haswell chips will have an increase in TDP from 77w (Ivy Bridge) to 84w. Obviously a 7w increase in power consumption isn’t too disheartening, though. And, with double the performance from the integrated graphics, the TDP increase is to be expected.
  • Perhaps the biggest downside of the Haswell architecture is that they will not be compatible with socket LGA 1155. Instead, Haswell chips will only be compatible with socket LGA 1150. This means that anyone who is looking to upgrade to the newest Intel architecture will also have to replace their motherboard as well. You will not be able to simply swap out your current Ivy Bridge processor for a new Haswell chip as you could if you had a Sandy Bridge chip when the Ivy Bridge processors first came out.

The Unchanged

  • The Haswell chips will still feature the 22nm production process.
  • The clock rates between the Haswell processors and Ivy Bridge processors will remain fairly similar. In other words, there will be no significant boost in processor speed.
  • Haswell architecture will not feature anymore cores or threads than the Ivy Bridge processors. The i7’s will still feature four cores and eight threads, while the i5’s will still have four cores and four threads.

Who Should Be Excited About the Haswell Chips

Technically, everyone should be excited about the upcoming June release of the Haswell processors.

Most obviously, for gamers and graphics designers who’d prefer the mobility of a laptop, the Haswell chips will provide an excellent solution with their huge increase in graphics processing power.

However, gamers and enthusiasts should also get excited about the Haswell architecture, even if they will see no significant increase in performance by adding one to their system. The reason for this is that with the release of Haswell, they can rest assured that their Ivy Bridge/Sandy Bridge processors will be relevant for a long time.

So, any way you look at it, the Haswell architecture is good for everyone!

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