Intel's Haswell processors set to touch down in June, should you upgrade?

Dave James at

Rumours have surfaced from Taipei and DigiTimes that Intel will be launching it’s brand new processors, with their funky new architecture, on June 2nd this year.

That’s a couple days before the start of Computex in Taiwan, one of the biggest tech trade shows in the world. That means you can bet there’ll be a host of Haswell motherboards littering the show following the launch.

It’s unlikely we’ll see much in the way of laptops or tablets based on the new chips, at least not in final form, as the dual-core i3 parts wont turn up until later in the year, as is usual with Intel CPU release.

What’s exciting about Haswell then?

Well, it’s based on the same 22nm silicon as the existing Ivy Bridge chips, but sadly it’s not pin-compatible. And that means we’ll need a whole new LGA 1150 CPU socket and subsequently whole new motherboards to jam our processor into.

Chances are though that it’s not really going to be that much of an improvement, in desktop performance terms, over the current generation of Intel CPUs. What it will have though is far improved graphics capabilities - somewhere in the region of twice as quick as the Ivy Bridge chip’s HD 4000 series graphics.

The new SKUs of Intel graphics will top out at the GT3E, which Intel is betting will be fast enough to form the basis for its own gaming laptops, without the need for discrete graphics. And because of the serious power-draw improvements that Haswell is also bringing to the processor table, that should make for gaming laptops with excellent battery life and decent graphical performance.

But on the desktop side, where we all have discrete GPUs we wouldn't part with, there's not a lot to entice us in. Sure, it'll be a little quicker, but I doubt it's going to be earth-shattering. Anyone with an Ivy Bridge CPU then can probably rest easy.

There have also been reports that after the launch of Haswell Intel will be shutting down its Intel-branded motherboard division.

I’ve never been a big fan of Intel’s own boards in general, but the good news is that they’re still going to be continuing the work on different form factors, like the incredible 4-inch Next Unit of Computing (NUC).

With Haswell's graphics power, the NUC could be a decent li'l gaming box

That’s a board capable of running a full Ivy Bridge CPU, and post-Haswell will also make for a tiny PC with some potentially impressive gaming performance.

Now that’s the Steam Box I’m waiting for.


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