Intel's Game Changer: One Size Fits All Haswell

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Intel's next-generation CPU, codenamed Haswell, was the major star of IDF. One aspect of the chip we haven't talked about at length, however, is its emphasis on reduced power consumption. When Intel announced that its Ivy Bridge mobile products would target 17W for mainstream systems, it made headlines. Pushing Haswell down to 10W is an even greater achievement, but hitting these targets requires a great deal of collaboration and cooperation.


Intel's Dadi Perlmutter, Executive Vice President, Architecture Group with Xeon Phi and Atom CPUs

For most of the past 40 years, power consumption was treated as an afterthought at virtually every level. Unless you were building specialized hardware for particular operating environments, it made little sense to invest in clock-gating or other power conservation technology. Moore's law and Dennard scaling regularly delivered better transistor processes that leaked less and scaled more efficiently without requiring any particular effort on the engineers' part.

 
 Thermal images are of Clover Trail, Intel's 32nm SoC

That trend came to a decisive halt at the 90nm process node back in 2005. Intel had already begun to develop technologies to lower CPU power consumption by that point; the company's SpeedStep technology had debuted several years earlier. Haswell continues this work, offering fine-grained control over areas of logic that were previously either on or off, up to and including specific execution units.


Haswell and Clover Trail have implemented new sleep states that deactivate even more logic areas

These optimizations are impressive in and of themselves, particularly the fact that idle CPU power is approaching tablet levels, but they're only part of the story. Operating system changes matter as well, and Intel has teamed up with Microsoft to ensure that Windows 8 takes full advantage of current and future hardware.
 

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Comments
realneil 2 years ago

You're right Joel, power considerations are going to steer the market of the future.

I wonder if the competition has any Rabbits in their hats?

Dave_HH 2 years ago

Haswell is looking to be a killer chip for sure.

Mike Coyne 2 years ago

It was very interesting to read about new processor from Intel. I think it is good to reduce the power of CPU. I am looking forward to read next gen Intel CPU for desktop and next Extreme Edition Series from Intel

Joel H 2 years ago

Realneil,

Not unless they can break the laws of physics.

Derailed 2 years ago

This intel guy holding the CPU looks like he's passing something righteous!

Nanook 2 years ago

I don't see where any changes to the laws of physics are necessary to make this happen. They are simply turning off circuitry when it's not being used and providing different levels of performance to meet varying demands. Balls out the chips still gonna suck power and dissipate heat, but when it's doing lighter tasks, it can turn parts of itself off or slow them way down that aren't being used and save power. The complexity of such circuits relative to the rest of the processor is probably fairly trivial. It is sad that they are focusing on one OS vendor, Microsoft, because Windows-8 frankly blows. I'd much rather see them do a good job of documenting so that Mac, Linux, BSD, and other OS's can ALL benefit from these capabilities.

MichaelHenry one year ago

Pushing Haswell down to 10W is an even greater achievement, but hitting these targets requires a great deal of collaboration and cooperation.

I work for Intel and they got it to 7W not 10. This is also public knowledge.

Jcapss1 one year ago

I'm writing a paper on this for my "Organizational Report Writing" class. The chip seems stellar.

Clixxer one year ago

This is all pretty impressive.

OSunday one year ago

It sounds like although its power consumption is being decreased by a slight amount, the number Intel is reporting is correlated with what the CPU is doing while still being "on"

It's good to see some improvements and that power consumption is dropping when it's in minimal use or idle but what's really important is finding a way to decrease power consumption in heavy top side loads since most people buy computers to use them, not try and keep them to minimal or idle use. 

Clixxer one year ago

I was reading somewhere last night that with new architecture in mobile chips a laptop while im sure running at idle could keep a charge as long as 24+hrs. That to me is even more impressive than the preformance and integrated 4000 graphics aspects of haswell.

kn9sli one year ago

I read this is soldered in to the board at the OEM and has done away with the traditional socket . I think you get what they give you no choices.

I didnt see mention of socket type. Anyone?

Clixxer one year ago

Haswell's socket will be 1150.

r00st3r one year ago

I am looking forward to the x89 series CPUs. But I feel the z87s aren't really too exciting. No new innovation (except 64Gb dual channel capabilities) and the heat spreader will be what should have been on the z77 CPUs. I like Intel, but that was not a good move. It's almost like they did it on purpose! IMO, its not worth an upgrade unless if you feel 10% is a big enough advantage.

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