Intel Corp. (INTC)
has dropped a few hints to its upcoming 22 nm Haswell architecture,
currently under development by the company's secret Oregon team. In a
post on the Intel Software Network blog titled
"Haswell New Instruction Descriptions Now Available!", the company
reveals that it plans to launch the new CPU in 2013.
Haswell will utilize the same power-saving tri-gate 3D transistor technology that
will first drop with Ivy Bridge in early
2012. Major changes architecturally reportedly include a
totally redesigned cache, fused multiply add (FMA3) instruction support, and an
on-chip vector coprocessor.
The vector process, which will work with the on-die GPU, was a major focus of
the post. The company is preparing a series of commands called Advanced
Vector Extensions (AVX), which will speed up vector math. It writes:
Intel AVX addresses the continued need for vector floating-point
performance in mainstream scientific and engineering numerical applications,
visual processing, recognition, data-mining/synthesis, gaming, physics,
cryptography and other areas of applications. Intel AVX is designed to
facilitate efficient implementation by wide spectrum of software architectures
of varying degrees of thread parallelism, and data vector lengths.
According to CNET, Intel's marketing
chief Tom Kilroy indicates that Intel hopes for the new chip's integrated
graphics to rival today's discrete graphics.
Intel has a ways to go to meet that objective -- its on-die GPU in Sandy
Bridge marked a significant improvement over past designs (which were
housed in a separate package, traditionally), however it also fell far short of the GPU found in Advance
Micro Devices (AMD)
Llano Fusion APUs.
Intel has enjoyed a love/hate relationship with graphics makers AMD and NVIDIA
While it's been forced to allow their GPUs to live on its motherboards
and alongside its CPUs, the company has also fantasized of usurping the
graphics veterans. Those plans culminated in the company's Larrabee project, which aimed to offer
discrete Intel graphics cards.
Now that a commercial release of Larrabee
has been cancelled, Intel has seized upon on-die integrated graphics as its
latest answer to try to push NVIDIA and AMD out of the market. Intel is promoting heavily the concept of ultrabooks --
slender notebooks like the Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL)
MacBook Air or ASUTEK Computer Inc.'s (TPE:2357) UX21,
which feature low voltage CPUs and -- often -- no discrete GPU.
Mr. Kilroy reportedly wants ultrabook manufacturers using Haswell to
shoot for target and MSRP of $599 USD, which would put them roughly in line
with this year's Llano notebooks from AMD and partners.
It's about $100 USD less than current Sandy Bridge notebooks
Intel faces pressure from a surging ARM Holdings plc's (ARMH)
who is looking
to unveil notebook processors sometime next year.