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It’s Haswell Day!

It’s the first day of June and the NDAs on Haswell have expired, meaning we finally get to see all the performance comparisons, benchmarks, and details on Intel’s fourth generation Core-i architecture! The usual suspects have their reviews up already:

AnandTech – The Haswell Review: Intel Core i7-4770K & i5-4670K Tested
Guru3D – Core i7 4770K processor review
TechReport – Haswell compared to… everything
[H]ard|OCP – Intel Haswell i7-4770K IPC and Overclocking Review
Tom’s Hardware – The Core i7-4770K Review: Haswell Is Faster; Desktop Enthusiasts Yawn

For those that have not been following Haswell, it is Intel’s 22nm ‘tock’ in the tick-tock schedule that Intel has been pursuing since 2005, meaning that Haswell is a brand new architecture. Like previous ‘tocks’ (Sandy Bridge, Nehalem, Conroe), Haswell brings about some major improvements, particularly with power consumption and integrated graphics performance.

From the reviews I’ve gone through so far, Haswell seems to be 5-15% faster per clock than Ivy Bridge, depending on the application. In comparison to Sandy Bridge and Nehalem, the performance increase is up to 25% and 40% respectively.

Along with the performance increases, Intel has improved power use efficiency with Haswell, providing vendors more opportunities to produce laptops and tablets that have a much longer battery life than with previous Intel processsor generations. Haswell also introduces some new CPU instructions, such as AVX2, which gives Haswell the potential to perform almost twice as fast than Ivy Bridge if AVX2 is fully utilized in an application.

The only place where Haswell seems to fall short is overclocking. Overclocking enthusiasts are running into high temperature issues when cranking up the voltage and are seeing the overclocking range at 4.0 – 4.5 GHz on average. Intel seems to be using the exact same TIM that was used on Ivy Bridge (which also had similar thermal issues when overclocking). For those intent on extreme overclocking with Haswell, delidding the processor seems to be necessary to reach higher clocks.

All in all, the new Haswell family seems to be a great upgrade, especially for those that are using a Core 2 or Nehalem-based Core-i7 setup.

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