Intel Reveals Power Management Technology Behind Upcoming "Haswell" Processors
Intel has revealed some of the advancements made in power management for their upcoming 4th generation Intel Core processors. These new chips have been touted to reduce idle power by as much as twenty times due to new power optimization technology and improvements made to the 22nm Tri-Gate transistor.
Intel adopted a two-prong approach to reducing power consumption as it tackled both active and idle power usage. With the use of low-powered circuits, the active power consumption will improve battery life. In terms of idle power, Haswell's new low-power states (C8, C9 and C10) are made possible by the on-die integration of the voltage regulator, called the Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator (FIVR), per CPU core. This allows for more "aggressive" power-down states to conserve battery life as well. This FIVR also allows for sleeker form factor devices due to its on-die integration to reduce space constraints from the motherboard side of things.
Intel also revealed the improvements made to its 3D Tri-gate transistors by reducing current leakage two to three times that of previous generation Intel Core "Ivy Bridge" processors. This results in transistors with lower minimum voltage capability, while retaining similar operating frequency capabilities. While the improved transistors enjoy the same minimum operating voltage, the processor, as a whole, operates at a lower voltage due to co-optimization of circuit processes. Intel has stated that certain Haswell processor SKUs are rated as low as just 7W - half the TDP of most of the ultra low voltage Ivy Bridge chips at present.
Due to collaboration efforts of Intel's teams from chip design and process technology, the fruits of their labor are the power management features of the Haswell processors. The ultimate beneficiary would be the consumer who will get to enjoy devices of new form factors with "Instant-On" responsiveness, and excellent battery life for up to 9 hours of enjoyment of HD content between device charges. (Intel hinted that Haswell based notebook platform should last through 3 Bollywood movies, which can typically last as long as three hours each, thus deriving the possibility of a 9-hour long battery life).
For such AV experience, the consumer would also be pleased to know that there will be three new integrated graphics engines for Haswell, each offering differing levels of graphics performance. However, not all Haswell processors will feature the new integrated graphics core. Another note of caution to consumers pertains to the connected standby feature of Haswell processors. Intel has stated that all 4th generation Intel Core processors have support for connected standby, but Intel's partner manufacturers are free to decide if the final Haswell-based device will actually support it. Hence, consumers are strongly advised to study the device specifications before they part with their monies in order to full enjoy the new and exciting features of the next generation Intel Core chips.