Feature Articles

IDF 2011 - Haswell Processor Expected to have 20 Times Lower Idle Power

IDF 2011 - Haswell Processor Expected to have 20 Times Lower Idle Power



The Haswell Experience in Ultrabooks

Haswell Will Deliver Always-On-Always-Connected Experience in Ultrabooks

If you think current Ultrabooks are ultra-cool and ultra-sleek (such as the latest Apple MacBook Air and the Samsung Series 9), then you're going to love Ultrabooks even more when Haswell hits the market in about two year's time. 

At IDF 2011, Intel's CEO and chairman, Paul Otellini, talked about the future of mobile computing and outlined the company's plans to make Ultrabooks even more satisfying than it is today. 

Haswell is the codename for the next two generation of processors in Intel's product roadmap for processors targeted at the desktop and mobile segment. It follows Ivy Bridge which is slated for 2012 and will be a vastly improved design of Ivy Bridge's state-of-the-art 22nm 3D tri-gate transistor technology.

Otellini described a new class of platform power management, which will be one of the significant advances that is being developed for Haswell. Besides significant power efficiency gained with the use of tri-gate transistors in its 22nm technology node, Intel is architecting a system-level power management framework that has the potential to reduce the platform power consumption by a factor of more than 20 times over current designs - without ever compromising performance.

This simply means that an Ultrabook will enable all-day usage and more than 10 days of always-connected standby capability on a single charge. Intel expects Ultrabooks to deliver new computing experience where users can continue to stay connected even when their laptop is placed in standby mode, enabling the system to keep its email, social media feeds and digital content up-to-date. 

Otellini believes that its collaboration with Microsoft in delivering Windows 8 will yield a new personal computing experience, in Ultrabooks as well as tablets.

In order to demonstrate Intel's commitment in reducing platform power consumption, researchers at Intel created a chip that could operate at extremely low power levels. The prototype chip pushes the limits of transistor technology by operating its transistors at close to its threshold voltage. In the demonstration, the processor demonstrated its ability to operate Windows along with a couple of simple applications using just a solar cell the size of a postage stamp.

Although not exactly practical, the demonstration shows how far Intel is able to push the limits of their transistors.