IDF 2012: Intel's fourth generation Core CPU runs as fast as third gen on half the power

Lower power requirements for Intel's 2013 chip will enable thinner, better-performing devices

Intel's executive vice president, Dadi Perlmutter, has demonstrated the capabilities of the company's fourth generation Core CPU (codenamed Haswell).

He was speaking at the Intel developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco.

The new 22 nanometer chip (model unknown) was said to be twice as fast as the third generation Core CPU running the Unigine 3D benchmark. That's at full power. However, the demonstration was also run at less than half the power to see how the new chip stacks up against the third generation Core (codenamed Ivy bridge). The results are a chip providing almost the same level of performance as a third gen CPU running at its full voltage. (See the video below.)

The better performance per Watt will allow Intel to deliver speedier chips for thinner designs, as the new CPUs will run cooler as a result. Just last week Intel announced that it will be releasing a 10W version of a fourth generation-based chip, which will be aimed directly at manufacturers hoping to bring more performance to form factors that are too thin to effectively cool a higher voltage chip. The new 10W line will be in addition to the 15W line of fourth generation chips, and Intel is also considering giving the new chip a different brand name. It won't make an announcement until next year.

The company did say that the ramp up to 22nm technology has been the smoothest transition it has ever had, with the fourth gen chips progressing better than planned, and that's how the new 10W chip was born. The lower power for the fourth generation chips overall is important as the platform for next year's Ultrabooks will also feature Smart Connect technology, which will refresh the computer often to make sure emails and social network statuses are immediately available when you open the lid of the Ultrabook and resume computing.

Intel said the battery life of the fourth gen Core chips, which have been designed from the ground up for Ultrabooks, will be almost double that of the third generation chips. Apart from the lower power requirements of the CPU itself, Intel did not disclose what else would help Ultrabooks attain that level of life.

Elias Plastiras attended IDF as a guest of Intel.

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