Intel's Haswell chips tipped for June launch

January 2, 2013 // 9:47 a.m.

Tags: #cpu #haswell #haswell-new-instructions #hni #intel-core #intel-haswell #intel-hd #lga1150 #lynx-point #processor

Intel's next-generation Haswell processor family appears to have suffered from a last-minute schedule slip, with the company now tipped to unveil the first processors in the new family in May ahead of a June launch.

Originally, it was thought that Intel would formally unveil its Haswell products early this year with a view to launching the chips in April, but sources speaking to VR-Zone have suggested that Intel's plans have changed to a later June launch. While nothing official is coming out of Intel - which, true to tradition, refuses to comment on 'industry rumour or speculation regarding unannounced products' - it is thought the company could be planning to show off the chips at Computex 2013 ahead of a formal launch on the 2nd of June.

Haswell is Intel's latest processor family, designed to offer design tweaks on the same process size as Ivy Bridge, itself a process-shrunk revision of the Sandy Bridge architecture. Part of Intel's 'tick-tock' design process - during which it launches a new processor design one year before shrinking it to a smaller process size the next, repeating in two-year cycles - Haswell introduces some exciting new features to the company's processor line-up including transactional memory technology, a high-performance L4 cache layer, and ultra-efficient models with a 10W TDP along with boosted graphics performance and the 'Haswell New Instructions' (HNI) instruction set architecture extensions.

The chipset designed for use with Haswell processors, Lynx Point, is claimed to include integrated USB 3.0 support for six individual ports, six on-board SATA 6Gb/s ports and quad-read Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) support, alongside a next-generation implementation of Intel's vPro hardware-based security and management system on the enterprise-grade implementations. As with Haswell itself, Lynx Point comes with claimed power draw improvements and a reduced chipset size, along with tweaks that are claimed to improve solid-state drive (SSD) performance compared to previous-generation chipsets.

The upshot, Intel claims, is a fourth-generation Core processor family with significantly improved performance and lower power draw across the whole range of server, desktop, laptop and tablet devices. With Intel already well ahead of rival AMD in the performance stakes, that's undeniably impressive - providing the Haswell parts live up to their claimed potential.

For those hoping to cheaply upgrade to a Haswell chip, however, some bad news: the processor will require a Lynx Point chipset to operate, and uses the new LGA1150 socket type - making it incompatible with existing motherboards.

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