Intel's next-gen 'Haswell' chip now shipping to PC makers

The chipmaker is shipping its most power-efficient mainstream processor to date, a source tells CNET. Intel also confirmed a bug in the accompanying chipset today.

Intel's Haswell-based laptop 'concept' that was shown at CES 2013.
Intel's Haswell-based laptop concept that was shown at CES 2013. CNET

Intel's "Haswell" chip is now shipping to major PC makers, a source close to the company told CNET today.

Intel's fourth-generation core, aka Haswell, is "shipping to customers now and will launch later this quarter," the source said.

Intel is expected to make a statement to this effect at the IDF Beijing conference next week.

Haswell, expected by June, is the next-generation mainstream Intel processor that will power ultrabooks and a variety of hybrids that straddle tablet and laptop designs. Haswell's new microarchitecture will deliver "the single largest generation-to-generation battery life improvement in Intel history," according to a recent statement from Intel CEO Paul Otellini.

Intel is also expected to reiterate that its next-generation Atom chip for smartphones, "Merrifield," will be shipping to customers by the end of the year.

And "Bay Trail," its next-gen Atom chip for tablets, will be in products by that time too.

The quad-core Bay Trail chip is Intel's "most powerful Atom processor to date" and "doubles the performance of the current tablet chip, 'Clover Trail+,'" according to recent statements from the company.

Both Bay Trail and Merrifield are based on an overhauled Atom microarchitecture that uses out-of-order execution, not unlike Intel's mainstream Core processors.

Update: Intel sent out the following note to the media Friday afternoon. Note that chipsets with the bug, aka errata, will be "in production" during the initial ramp, which is taking place this month.

4th gen Core is on track for a mid-year launch. Intel issued a PCN documenting a chipset USB errata and stating that chipsets with the errata will be in production during the initial ramp. But Intel has confirmed that there is no chance of data loss or corruption. This issue has only been observed with a small subset of USB SuperSpeed thumb drives and does not affect other USB peripherals. We take all customer issues seriously and should any customer have a question or concern they can always contact Intel customer support.

The bug can cause USB 3.0 devices, like thumb drives, to disappear after entering standby. In some cases, removable devices have to be reconnected again, according to a report at BSN.

Updated at 1:58 p.m. PDT: adds Intel statement about chipset bug.

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