The high-performing Core i family of Intel processors recently got a facelift with the newly released 4th generation processor for desktops and mobile usage, with the codename Haswell. The features of this Haswell 4th generation processor from Intel includes:
- prolonged battery life - 7 to 9 hours
- improved graphics
- Ultrabook touchscreens
- 10% overall performance increase
- legacy PCI support gone
Longer Battery Life
In terms of battery life, a couple of factors are at play here. First, a 22nm design process was earmarked for this processor model, as opposed to the previous Ivy Bridge processor, which was shrunk down. In addition, Intel revamped the idle power scheme so that when the system is idle and then called upon to do work, the processor does not power up fully and minimizes the power neeeded to engage it into a full active condition only when necessary, enhancing the battery life substantially. It is estimated that a user should be able to get 40% more battery life because of the changes.
The display capabilities have been enhanced as well. You had two display choices with the previous Ivy Bridge processor, the HD 2500 or the HD 4000. With the Haswell, you now have several choices including the carry-over HD graphics, as well as the HD graphics 4200, 4400, 4600 if you're using an LGA-1150 socket. With the BGA, you can go with the higher end Intel HD Graphics 5000, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, and Iris Pro 5200.
The Haswell processor requires a different chipset, the 8 series chipset. Both the Series 7 and Series 8 chipsets share a number of things in common; they both offer support for a plentiful number of USB ports, although the series 8 chipset increases the number of USB 3.0 ports to six, and it also increases the number of SATA 3 ports to six.
PCI Not Supported
For the desktop users who are still using PCI cards, you will be in for a surprise. All PCI legacy support is gone with the advent of the series 8 chipset used with the Haswell processor. PCI Express, the new standard which supplanted PCI as the far superior bandwidth vehicle, has been around for 9 years now, and has reached the point of full responsiblity.
The telltale sign that you're buying a Haswell processor is by looking at the number following the "i" designation. If you see one that reads "i5 4xxxx" you know it's a Haswell, since the first number designates the generation. If the first number is a 3xxxx, you know you're getting a PC using the previous 3rd generation processor.The letter at the end of this four digit number designates what type of processor and what type of PC it is used with. The designations are:
- H - high end quad-core
- M - mainstream quad-core & dual-core laptops and certain desktops
- U - ultrabooks
- Y - tablets and detachable hybrids
Thus, a processor you see that has the description, "i5-4200U" would be a 4th generation processor, therefore a Haswell, and would be used in an Ultrabook. And while we're on the subject of Ultrabooks, here's a bombshell, but with a nice blast. With this 4th generation rollout, Intel is now giving the Ultrabook category a new mandate: in order to be classified as an Ultrabook, the machine must have a touch screen.
With the decline in laptop sales because of the tablets and their lower price points, it is clear that Intel has "sweetened the pot" so to speak, by offering a tablet alternative; a touch-screen Ultrabook with features found in a tablet. Not only that, but with the energy saving/enhanced battery life being a norm with this processor, it will in fact eventually find its way into the tablet market. Intel has earmarked the Haswell processor for more types of PCs than any previous generation. From the tablet to the laptop to the desktop with high-end graphics, this Haswell 4th generation processor truly does make this Core i family distinguished. For additional information on the Hawell 4th generation processor you can view it at here.