Intel's Haswell gets massive graphics performance boost

Intel has started releasing some details about its upcoming fourth-generation Core processor ahead of its official announcement at Computex

Intel is expected to announce its fourth-generation Core processors code-named Haswell for laptops and desktops in June, but the company is already releasing teasers that talk about their performance.

The Haswell laptop chip will deliver up to twice the graphics performance compared to third-generation Core processors code-named Ivy Bridge, according to a slide deck released by Intel on Wednesday. The company is claiming graphics performance improvement of close to three times for Haswell desktop chips.

The graphics capabilities in Haswell will enable high-definition gaming and video playback, which will reduce the need for separate graphics cards.

Intel is expected to announce the Haswell chips at the Computex trade show in early June. PC makers are expected to show laptops, desktops and tablets running on Haswell chips at the trade show, which will be held in Taipei between June 4 and 8. Intel has said that Haswell-based laptops may be released around the middle of this year.

The chip maker has said the battery life of ultrabooks will double with the new fourth-generation Core chips. Haswell will also deliver double the performance on the same power consumption compared to Ivy Bridge chips. Intel has introduced low-power Haswell chips that draw up to 7 watts of power, and the company hopes some of those processors make it to high-performance tablets that could be used for gaming.

The Haswell chip will enable laptops to play 4K video, in which images are displayed at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is four times that of traditional 1080p high-definition video. The graphics processor is also faster at rendering video via a feature called QuickSync, which was slower on previous Intel chips. Some new QuickSync features include faster MPEG video encode and decode.

The graphics performance of Haswell will depend on the chip type and PC configuration. For example, Intel's fourth-generation Core i7-4650U ultrabook chip, which is based on Haswell and draws 15 watts of power, delivers one-and-a-half times the graphics performance of a comparable 17-watt, third-generation Core i7-3687U based on Ivy Bridge. A 28-watt Core i7-4558U doubles the graphics performance of the 17-watt Ivy Bridge chip.

For some power-hungry desktop Haswell chips, the graphics performance is close to three times more than comparable Ivy Bridge chips.

The Haswell chips will support DirectX 11.1, which is Microsoft's latest set of tools to develop and run games. Haswell chips will also support the OpenGL 4.0 API (application programming interface) and OpenCL 1.2, a framework of parallel programming tools in which certain calculations and graphics tasks can be off-loaded to the graphics processor.

Intel has introduced a new naming scheme for its graphics processors integrated in the chips. Intel's HD 5000 graphics will go into chips drawing 15 watts of power, while the more powerful Iris Graphics 5100 and Iris Pro graphics 5300 will go into Haswell processors that draw more power. The naming scheme is important for PC buyers who measure the quality of a chip based on graphics performance.

The company typically releases a new chip for laptops and desktops every year, with each new generation adding more CPU and graphics performance. With PC shipments falling, Haswell chips are perhaps the most important chip release for the company to date. Intel hopes the power-efficient fourth-generation Core chips will also be used in devices like tablets or hybrids.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smbGraphics boardssmall businesshardware systemsdesktop pcsComponentslaptopsprocessorsintel

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?