Intel Haswell: 10-20 Day Battery Life? 3D Transistors Hitting Market with Ivy Bridge


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While computer enthusiasts looking for the latest technology from Intel are no doubt frothing at the mouth about the recent Ivy Bridge developments, the successor to the Ivy Bridge is ambitious in scope. With most laptops now being shipped with Sandy Bridge architecture (native USB3 compatibility and eSATA, as well as support for 6 core Intel i7, i5, and i3 processors), Intel will soon begin rolling out Ivy Bridge. But reports indicate it has already begun work on its next-generation processing architecture: code-name Haswell.

For those who already have high performance computing rigs, servers, and workstations, the difference may seem negligible, and may appear, on the surface, to be yet another change of the motherboard architecture design that requires a new chipset and processor socket. However, there is more to the development in Haswell than meets the eye.

It has become apparent that Intel is attempting to compete directly with Britain's ARM Holdings Semiconductor. ARM is the company responsible for the highly miniaturized use of ARM-architecture central processing units (CPUs) and motherboards on modern smart phones and pads. Nearly every iPhone and Android smart phone is using ARM, and Windows 8 will reportedly be rolled out for ARM on smart devices in 2013.

However, if Intel's plans take off, ARM may be making a run for its money. For example, while the difference between programming design for the Intel x64 and x86 architecture may be extreme compared to ARM, developers are likely to be far more ready to program for Intel-based processors again than they are for ARM.

Like Ivy Bridge, the Haswell successor is likely to be based on a 22 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process, and will use 3D trigate transistors. The 3D trigate transistors designed by Intel use 50% less power and up to a 30-40% performance increase in processing power. The transistors will also reportedly be used in newer Intel Atom processors on netbooks and other miniature devices.

However, the one area where Haswell is said to compete in a major way is battery life. According to a report by BBC News and Intel's Kirk Skaugen, the goal of Haswell will be to give you 20x more battery life in standby mode and up to 10 days of battery life in constant operation. If these statements ring true, prepare for this technology to begin to appear in 2013 with Ivy Bridge, and become more apparent with the release of the Haswell architecture at a later time.

However, anyone who has used modern cell phones knows that battery life is a big deal. Here in the states, and likely throughout Europe, phones that have promised 20 hours of battery life have become big sellers. One example is the Verizon 4G Razr MAXX smart phone from Motorola, scheduled to be upgraded with Android's Ice Cream Sandwich OS in coming weeks.

According to these indications from Intel, 10-20 days of battery life would not be out of the question using 22nm processors. Such a proposition could shift the balance of power in the marketplace once again away from ARM and towards Intel and AMD, as a rift now exists between traditional desktop and notebook computers and smart devices.

Source: BBC News and Intel Corporation