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IDF 2012: Intel Haswell Architecture Revealed

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Media Architecture and Closing Thoughts

While the media segment is still a portion of the graphics system on Haswell, it was covered separately at IDF.  Honestly, much of the media capability changes are simply spec changes – covering more codecs with accelerated hardware, an improved video processing engine, and the like.

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The video codec engine sees additions of MJPEG (often used for web cameras) and SVC while improving overall quality for existing codecs too.  Video processing improves with the ability to convert frame rates, and to do image stabilization similar to what AMD does with SteadyVideo.  And you'll see that QuickSync performance will increase with the GT3 implementation as well.

Intel will be supporting 4Kx2K displays with Haswell, though I wonder how long it will be before these displays are consumer cost friendly (Exhibit A).

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If you want video processing, Intel's Haswell will have you covered; you can see the additions to this segment at the bottom of the above slide. 

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With Haswell, concurrent video engines will be enabled to allow for higher throughput and better performance.  This will also result in a lower overall duty cycle and should increase battery life on mobile platforms in the process. 

Power management will be improved for mobile media consumption with improved power gating on the various "slices" on the GT3.  The full GPU doesn't have to be enabled for QuickSync or other video operations if the source doesn't require that much throughput. 

Closing Thoughts

While we learned quite a bit about Haswell today, the truth is there is still a lot that is left unknown.  I didn't expect to see clock speeds or any specific products quite yet, but there are more details on the new architecture, the graphics system, and exactly how the processor will scale between the tablets, desktops and servers. 

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So far, the only REAL performance metric we have seen was focused on the graphics system with the comparison in Unigine Heaven; and even that was pretty vague and easily discounted.  Rumors have been swirling around about the drastically improved processor graphics for some time, and it looks like they might indeed live up to the hype.  What we don't even really have a clue on is the x86 CPU performance, and how it will compare to current desktop and notebook Core processors.  I have a feeling we'll find out sometime after CES next January.

Hopefully we'll see more details come out of IDF this week so stay tuned to PC Perspective for the latest! 

If you have any thoughts, questions or complaints, let me know in the comments below and I'll try to address them all in a timely manner!

September 11, 2012 | 06:30 PM - Posted by tbone (not verified)

AMD take notes!

September 12, 2012 | 10:27 AM - Posted by amadsilentthirst

I'm still rocking a 3Ghz E8400

Wondering if I can hang on until Haswell, not seen my CPU under much strain to be honest, even when gaming...but a new Motherboard RAM etc is on the cards soon anyway.

Do we have a rough idea on release of desktop chips?
June 2013?

September 12, 2012 | 02:22 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I think that time frame is a pretty good guess, based on the amount of information we have been giving at IDF and the Q1 2013 availability launch time given during the keynotes.

January 12, 2013 | 11:54 AM - Posted by arbiter

Leaked intel road map you had here on the site said q2, but Being how close it is, but being its only a few months or so off. If you can make due with that old e8000 might well wait.

September 13, 2012 | 08:43 AM - Posted by Nebulis01

I'm i the same boat. I won a Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9650 and built a system around that. I've yet to find any game that's truly pushed it. I was kind of hoping to move back with Piledriver but it will probably be a Haswell based upgrade.

June 7, 2013 | 02:30 PM - Posted by Hal Haswell (not verified)

With a surname of HASWELL I am mildly curious as to where the codename HASWELL came from. Anyone in a position to address this?

June 7, 2013 | 05:02 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

at a guess, Haswell, CO, USA ... they've been using small cities as naming conventions for a while

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