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Intel's first Haswell chip pictured

Intel's first Haswell chip pictured

The leaked spy shot allegedly represents the first look at Intel's upcoming Haswell processor family, due to launch in 2013.

Intel's next-generation processor architecture, Haswell, has been pictured for the first time in a spy shot of an engineering sample.

According to Slovakian technology site OBR-Hardware, the leaked image is of a quality control sample produced at an Intel fabrication facility to prove the next-generation architecture's efficacy ahead of its launch next year.

Built on a 22nm process, Haswell represents the 'tick' portion of Intel's 'tick-tock' development cycle: where the upcoming Ivy Bridge is merely a process size shrink from Sandy Bridge's 32nm to 22nm, Haswell represents a new generation of microarchitecture.

Based on the the existing Core architecture, Haswell promises numerous improvements over its predecessors. The most interesting of these, and sadly invisible in the leaked picture, is HNI: Haswell New Instructions.

Designed to extend the existing instruction set available in Ivy Bridge, HNI includes Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) 2 with support for SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) operations on 256-bit integer data types, bit manipulation instructions for improved handling of variable bitstreams, cryptography, compression and large number arithmetic, gather instructions for vectorising codes with non-adjacent data elements, any-to-any permutes with support for DWORD and QWORD granularity permutes across an entire 256-bit register, vector-vector shifts and floating-point multiply accumulate functionality for boosted floating point performance.

In simpler terms: for software designed to take advantage of the new instructions, Haswell promises some significant performance benefits. In particular, better vector handling means vastly improved parallel processing capabilities that could boost overall compute performance significantly for multi-threaded applications.

The image does, however, offer some insight into other aspects of the first Haswell-based processors likely to hit the market: according to OBR-Hardware's analysis of the spy shot, the GPU portion of the die is around twice the size of that included in Sandy Bridge. As a result, we can expect significantly improved graphics performance from the chips.

That observation fits with existing claims - including that from VR-Zone - that Haswell will include multi-standard encode and decode functionality for video resolutions up to QuadHD 4K.

Sadly, with Ivy Bridge not even out of the door yet, Intel is keeping quiet on precise facts and figures for the first Haswell silicon; but it certainly looks like it's going to be a tempting upgrade for performance enthusiasts when it finally hits the market in 2013.

Will you be skipping Ivy Bridge in the hope that Haswell is all that it promises to be, or do you take Intel's proclamations as to the benefits of HNI with a pinch of salt? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

18 Comments

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smc8788 30th January 2012, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Designed to extend the existing instruction set available in Ivy Bridge, HNI includes Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) 2 with support for SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) operations on 256-bit integer data types, bit manipulation instructions for improved handling of variable bitstreams, cryptography, compression and large number arithmetic, gather instructions for vectorising codes with non-adjacent data elements, any-to-any permutes with support for DWORD and QWORD ganularity permutes across an entire 256-bit register, vector-vector shifts and floating-point multiply accumulate functionality for boosted floating point performance

Mmhmm.......yeah........mmhmm........I know some of these words
kenco_uk 30th January 2012, 13:17 Quote
Resistors usually shrink, surely?
.//TuNdRa 30th January 2012, 13:46 Quote
Is that another complete die up on the top of the chip? Surely covering that with a heat-spreader and making sure that it isn't crushed is going to be a hell of a challenge?
mark@scan 30th January 2012, 14:31 Quote
"Built on a 22nm process, Haswell represents the 'tick' portion of Intel's 'tick-tock' development cycle: where the upcoming Ivy Bridge is merely a process size shrink from Sandy Bridge's 32nm to 22nm, Haswell represents a new generation of microarchitecture."

I thought Ivy Bridge was a "tick" and the new Haswell architecture was the "tock"

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/silicon-innovations/intel-tick-tock-model-general.html
Christopher N. Lew 30th January 2012, 15:06 Quote
I thought the graphics processor in Ivy Bridge was already a vast improvement on Sandy Bridge, even if the rest of Ivy Bridge is merely a die shrink. Is the graphics processor in Haswell 'significantly improved' from Ivy Bridge.
Gareth Halfacree 30th January 2012, 15:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark@scan

I thought Ivy Bridge was a "tick" and the new Haswell architecture was the "tock"

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/silicon-innovations/intel-tick-tock-model-general.html
Whoops. I always forget which is the tick and which is the tock...
azazel1024 30th January 2012, 15:27 Quote
Well sure I'll wait till Hawell comes out instead of upgrading from my Core 2 duo. Wait, when Haswell is almost out the door, the Haswell lithography shrink will amost be out...I should wait for that, but when that is almost out...

I am going to finally spring for an upgrade to probably the 2500 or 2600 equivelent of IB (whatever those are again) around early June (a slightly delayed birthday present) and probably a mid-grade 7000 series AMD discrete GPU. I'll eye Haswell with jealousy, but unless something truely revolutionary drops from Intel along the way, I'll probably wait at least 2-3 years (maybe 4) before upgrading again (I got my core 2 duo 3 years ago this spring, though admittedly at the time I was buying about 18 month old tech when it hit and lowish end, this time I am going to go near top end for the CPU).
r3loaded 30th January 2012, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel1024
Well sure I'll wait till Hawell comes out instead of upgrading from my Core 2 duo. Wait, when Haswell is almost out the door, the Haswell lithography shrink will amost be out...I should wait for that, but when that is almost out...
With that thought process, you could be waiting forever. After Haswell comes the 14nm die-shrink Broadwell, which is rumoured to be the moment that desktop CPUs start turning into SoCs with Ethernet/USB 3.0/Thunderbolt controllers being integrated on-chip.

Beyond that, there'll be Skylake, which they're probably targeting for DDR4 and PCIe 4.0 support and is supposed to incorporate technology from the Larrabee project (instead of a CPU+GPU on-chip as we have now, the CPU BECOMES the GPU). That in turn, will be shrunk to 10nm with Skymont...

Best advice is to buy what you need, when you need it unless the new tech is < 3 months around the corner.
Deders 30th January 2012, 18:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark@scan
"Built on a 22nm process, Haswell represents the 'tick' portion of Intel's 'tick-tock' development cycle: where the upcoming Ivy Bridge is merely a process size shrink from Sandy Bridge's 32nm to 22nm, Haswell represents a new generation of microarchitecture."

I thought Ivy Bridge was a "tick" and the new Haswell architecture was the "tock"

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/silicon-innovations/intel-tick-tock-model-general.html

Isn't ivy bridge the tock? is it that much different from Sandy bridge in terms of architecture and technology?
Ayrto 30th January 2012, 18:58 Quote
Haswell uses an LGA1150 socket instead of the LGA1155 so it'll need a new motherboard featuring the LGA1150 socket.
Ayrto 30th January 2012, 19:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Whoops. I always forget which is the tick and which is the tock...

Not alone in that. It does seem counterintuitive for a new architecture to be on the 'tock'.
Action_Parsnip 30th January 2012, 20:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
Resistors usually shrink, surely?

They mostly come at night, mostly?


*ahem*
3lusive 30th January 2012, 21:02 Quote
Haswell is a Tock, as with every new architecture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Tick-Tock
l3v1ck 30th January 2012, 21:35 Quote
To be honest I'm never going to wait for anything in particular. I'll just buy whatever I think is the best for my needs at the time.
My laptop life cycle seems to be about 4-5 years, so I've got another 2-3 years to go.
I may build a new desktop before then, but probably not as I don't have the disposable income these days.
Deders 30th January 2012, 23:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Action_Parsnip
They mostly come at night, mostly?


*ahem*

so do I... mostly....
PingCrosby 31st January 2012, 12:29 Quote
I'm gonna wait for the Roswell chip, apparently scientists are working on it in the New Mexican desert as we speak! It must be true I read it in a newspaper.
azazel1024 31st January 2012, 14:01 Quote
Well I'd say buy what you need when you want to upgrade...though that being said, if you know a new generation of chips is just about to be released, it hurts little to wait a few weeks or a couple of months to upgrade. Personally I don't like buying in at the initial release, prices tend to be higher and I don't want to find out that there is some kind of tragic error in silicon (see Cougar Point chipset issue and SB-E Vt-d issue). So for me it is buying in about 4-8 weeks after launch. So if Intel comes out with IB in April it'll be May before I buy in, though probably June. Wait till just after my birthday as a delayed birthday gift. That and I have a medium sized software release at my job coming up early June and should be working enough overtime for the release to pretty much pay for most of the upgrade.
Pookie 31st January 2012, 22:43 Quote
Can it play............no i won't say it ;)
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