Rani Borkar, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said in a media briefing on Thursday that Intel's upcoming family of "Haswell" Core mobile processors will provide 50 percent more battery life in laptops than the previous Ivy Bridge generation. That's because the chips were designed with the power-saving needs of notebooks and tablets in mind.
But let's get real here for a moment: the CPU is just one of many power-hungry components in a laptop. To get a significant jump in battery life, the display will need to be more efficient too. However Haswell will supposedly make a noticeable difference thanks to new low power states, a full-integrated voltage regulator, faster interconnects and 20 nm process technology.
Intel claims Haswell will perform even better when in idle or standby mode, extending battery life by up to 20 times than what current processors can manage on laptops and hybrids. Borkar told reporters in the media briefing that there won’t be a tradeoff of performance for longer battery life with Haswell chips. Even more, they'll offer double the graphics performance for laptops and up.
Intel is slated to launch the new Haswell processors next month during COMPUTEX 2013 in Taipei. They're an attempt to throw the PC sector a lifeline as it struggles against the more power-efficient, more mobile and lightweight tablet and smartphone segments. Haswell will not only offer longer battery life, but encourage more hybrid solutions with touchscreens and detachable keyboards.
Haswell represents an update to Intel's instruction set architecture which it delivers every two years. Borkar said that a Haswell-based tablet will offer similar battery life to a non-Intel tablet, but more performance than a "content consumption" device. Some chips will go as low as 7 watts whereas some of the current-generation Ivy Bridge Core chips can go as low as 10 watts.
Haswell's low-power consumption is partly due to an on-chip power management unit which provides an overall view of energy consumption on the chip. This unit dynamically adjusts the power in various parts of the chip to reduce its overall power draw. Voltage regulators have also been consolidated, enabling smaller Haswell-based motherboards that can be mounted in smaller form factors.