Intel starts countdown clock for next-gen Haswell chips

Intel has begun an on-site countdown to its introduction of the fourth-generation Haswell chips at the Computex show in June.

In just a few weeks, Intel's one-chip-fits all family of core processors will finally meet Microsoft's one-design-fits all operating system, Windows 8. The chip maker recently announced it will unveil the first round of Haswell Core processors on June 3.

"In approximately 3,337,200,000,000,000 nanoseconds, Intel will reveal all there is to know about the highly anticipated 4th generation Intel Core processor family," the company said Friday. In fact, Intel's official Haswell reveal coincides with the opening of Computex, the annual Taipei trade show where PC makers preview hardware plans for the rest of 2013. In 2011, Intel revealed at Computex the Ultrabook specification.

Intel has big plans for Haswell as a chip capable of running on almost anything from tablets to Ultrabooks to powerful desktops. Lower power consumption is a big selling point with Haswell, and Intel hopes the new chips will nearly double the battery life of Ultrabooks compared to current Ivy Bridge-based devices. Haswell also offers improved graphics performance, fixed function video to enable faster video encoding and decoding, and a new Active Idle state for faster wake from sleep times.

Quad-core first, then dual

The first round of Haswell chips are expected to be largely quad-core chips for notebooks and desktops, although dual-core chips capable of sipping about 10 watts of power are also expected. The Chinese-language site VR-Zone, which has a fairly good track record with Intel leaks, recently published what it claims is Intel's pricing chart for early Haswell chips. The chart shows individual chip pricing for retailers based on a minimum order of five chips, VR-Zone says. Eight quad-core chips are included in the pricing data from a 3GHz Core i5-4430 for $175 to a 3.5GHz Core i7-4770K for $327.

Since these supposed prices are for retailers, the actual price you pay for a Haswell processor on store shelves would be a bit higher. If VR-Zone's report is accurate, then Haswell's pricing shouldn't be all that different from Ivy Bridge. But, as Extreme Tech points out, Haswell includes a few more cheaply-priced SKUs than usual, suggesting Intel is focusing on the low- and mid-range price points with Haswell. Given the wide range of devices Intel wants to see powered by Haswell, that pricing range makes sense.

For now, however, these prices and model numbers are speculation, but we won't have to wait long to find out if they are the real thing. In fact, we should know in just about 2,974,000,000,000,000 nanoseconds from now.

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Ian Paul

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