Intel to chat up 'Haswell' chip at conference

Intel is going talk about its next chip microarchitecture at a September conference in San Francisco.

Imagine a Haswell-toting MacBook Pro Retina that's thinner, lighter yet more powerful.
Imagine a Haswell-toting MacBook Pro Retina that's thinner, lighter yet more powerful. Apple

With Intel's annual conference just around the corner, its next-gen silicon is always a hot topic.

And this year, that's Haswell. Why should you be interested in Haswell? Well, it's going to be inside some of the thinnest, lightest, most powerful ultrabooks, MacBooks, and tablet-ultrabook hybrids to date. (And throw Microsoft's next-gen Surface tablets into that mix too).

Haswell's marquee feature -- besides being a new microarchitecture -- is that versions of the processor will put more of the PC's core functions inside one chip package than any Intel processor to date. And that means a chunk of the chipset too, which typically resides in a separate chip package.

And of course all of that integration means better power efficiency, which translates into longer battery life.

Think system-on-a-chip, aka SoC (though purists may dispute that). ARM-based SoCs power most of the world's smartphones and tablets today.

Intel has a few sessions queued up at IDF 2012 that will cover the chip.

For instance, "Intel Next Generation Microarchitecture Code Name Haswell: New Processor Innovations" will be a session that discusses Haswell's "Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (Intel AVX2) hardware" and "Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions (Intel TSX) hardware."

Another session covers "performance and quality improvements for Intel Quick Sync Video Technology" and "low power media features for Ultrabook."

So, how much silicon will Intel squeeze into Haswell. Well, CPU World tells us that Haswell models for the consumer market will integrate two CPU cores, one or two DDR3 memory controllers, Lynx Point chipset, up to GT3 (high-end Intel) graphics, and consume no more than 15 Watts on average.

Expect the new chips to arrive in the June to August 2013 time frame.

Intel declined to comment.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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