Haswell to Bump Active Battery Life ~50 Percent, Increase Standby Time 20-Fold
May 24, 2013 10:55 AM
New chips take voltage regulator module (VRM) off the motherboard for the first time, into the package
As Intel Corp. (
) continues the wind-up towards the launch of its latest generation of Core processors powered by the 22 nanometer (nm) architecture refreshed
, details about the chips' performance continue to trickle out.
I. Power Improvements Galore
In addition to monstrous performance, Rani Borkar, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, promises that
will be Intel's most efficient CPU yet. The second-generation 22 nm node is expected to deliver around a 50 percent bump in active battery life, Mr. Borkar said in a pre-
as low as 10 watts TDP
is expected to cut that down to a mere 7 W TDP.
If that's not enough to impress buyers, Intel's new chips are supposed to bump idle and standby life by as much as 20-times over
, meaning you'll be able to hibernate a machine for weeks or months even without plugging it in.
The key to
's gains is a new "smart" power controller unit (PCU) that monitors every part of the chip -- from the graphics to the CPU cores to the I/O units. The PCU can dynamically regulate power allotted to each part of the circuit as needed. This contrasts decades of past designs where clock speed (and power driving it) was often wasted on idle units.
Haswell cuts core power consumption via a new smart power regulator, brings the voltage regulator module inside the package for the first time, and offers more efficient interconnects.
supporting chipsets also offers improvements on the power electronics front, featuring a leaner voltage regulator module (the motherboard component that converts the higher board voltage down to a lower voltage level usable by the microprocessor die). With
the voltage regulator is integrated inside the chip package for the first time (removing it from the motherboard), which will allow for smaller motherboards.
That should be helpful to Microsoft Corp.'s (
push for 7-inch and 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets
. The explosion of this lower-priced segment helped propel another struggling tablet platform -- Google Inc.'s (
) Android --
from a bit player
to a serious contender, with designs like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon.com, Inc. (
) Kindle Fire, and ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (
Nexus 7 tablet
The 7-to-8-inch segment offers lower prices due to the smaller screen size. The form factor was popular enough even Apple, Inc. (
begrudgingly jumped on the bandwagon
with the iPad Mini.
II. Windows 8.1 and
-- A Winning Duo?
The new Intel chip will also have embedded DRAM (memory), which should help further cut down on external components in small form factors.
that the GPU will have 128 MB of dedicated DRAM in some variants. The new chip also offers faster interconnects, another factor helping it hit the 7 watt envelope.
Intel has already shared that
cores' revamped on-die graphics processing unit (dGPU) are expected to
increase performance between 50 and 300 percent
, depending on the model. Intel has, for the first time, offered a distinct branding for its dGPU, dubbing it "Iris". Demos showed Iris
handling popular RPG/slasher/spellcasting game The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
with with ease.
Intel and Microsoft are both counting on the combo of the free Windows 8.1 update, and the new
chips to boost struggling PC sales. [Image Source: The Verge]
More details of the new chip are expected to come out in two weeks at Computex, which runs June 4-8 in Taiwan. A number of OEMs are expected to show off
based designs. More designs may pop up at Microsoft Corp.'s (
conference, which will be held June 26-28 in San Francisco, Calif. At the conference Microsoft is expected to offer up a Release Preview of Windows 8.1, the free revamp to Windows 8, which Microsoft hopes will win back critics.
In many ways Intel and Microsoft's fates are tied together. Q1 2013 marked
the worse percentage drop in PC unit sales in history
. But both companies are hoping that the market reacts strongly to
+ Windows 8.1
ultrabooks, hybrids, and tablet computers.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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