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2013 Haswell Mobile CPU Lineup – Power Sippers to Guzzlers

One may think that the Ivy Bridge 17W Ultrabook bins power consumption is a great feat, but it may pale to next year 22nm Haswell's 15 watts TDP – including the PCH chipset in the same CPU package! What happens then if you want a bit more performance at a bit more TDP? The answer is…

… well, nothing! Haswell (Shark Bay platform) will, according to the well informed sources, bring in a much sharper TDP range distinction, even in the mobile markets. So, above the coveted – and a big focus for Intel anyway – UltraBook domain, there will be a huge chasm above.

Haswell Ultrabook ULV parts, codenamed Lynx Point LP, all being dual core but offering a choice of one to three graphics units, are expected to be all budgeted at 15W TDP for the whole dual die package, including the CPU and the PCH, the old 'South Bridge'. Now, that's something of an advantage over the 17W plus a few watts for a chipset in the current Ivy Bridge. You save both on power and on the board space, yet gain quite a bit of performance, especially in graphics, doing away the need for a power sucking discreet GPU.

What happens if you either want to go up in performance, or want to save some bucks (for heaven's sake UltraBooks should not cost more than MBAs) and go for standard format notebook? Well, you'll have to change the socket and and the TDP. The chipset will not then be in the CPU package anymore, but you'll have a flexibility to choose between two and four CPU cores. The power envelope? In the first case, 37W TDP, and in the second case, 47W TDP.  Wow, quite a difference when it comes to cooling and battery life…

Of course, we haven't covered yet the top end, with four cores, GT3 graphics and that 'something extra' L4 cache on a separate die in the CPU package, linked over a wide backside bus. Here we talk about 57W TDP, of course for a very powerful desktop replacement device.

The impact? After the migration to Haswell, the massive TDP distinction between different parts will impact even the formats, with ever thinner and lighter UltraBooks on one side, and constant-weight heavy mainstream stuff on the other. Of course, the uber enthusiast 18-inch or so monster gamer notebooks will also be there for the 57W parts, driving – hopefully – 4K-quality 16:10 screens at acceptable framerates with those GPUs by then. After all, if today's Apple Mac 15-inch can deliver 2880×1800, why can't a future 18-inch Haswell notebook bring in 3840×2400 display? It surely won't take more juice than the CPU driving it…

Nebojsa Novakovic
In the spare time over the past two decades, editor and writer of high-end computer hardware and design features and analysis for European and US media and analyst houses. Reviews of high end hardware are my specialty for 28 years already.

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