I don’t think I had a good grasp on why Intel’s Haswell launch felt so weird until now. Haswell less than a month after the arrival of a new CEO, and it shows up a couple of weeks after the abrupt change in leadership within the Intel Architecture Group. Dramatic change at the top is always felt several levels below.

To make matters worse, there are now four very important Haswell families that need to be validated, tested, launched and promoted. There’s desktop Haswell, mobile Haswell, ultramobile Haswell ULT (U-series) and Haswell ULX (tablet, Y-series). The number one explanation I’m getting for why we don’t have a socketed K-series SKU with Crystalwell is that everyone is already too busy validating all of the other variants of Haswell that have to launch as soon as possible.

Unlike previous architectures where Intel spanned the gamut of TDPs, Haswell is expected to have success in pretty much all of the segments and as a result, getting everything out on time is very important.

As anyone who has tried to do too much with too little time/resources knows, these types of stories typically don’t end well. The result is one of the more disorganized launches in Intel history and it seems to be caused by dramatic changes at the top of the company combined with a very aggressive to-do list down below.

Haswell is viewed, at least by some within Intel, as a way to slow the bleeding of the PC industry. The shift of consumer dollars to smartphones and tablets instead of notebooks and desktops won’t be reversed, but a good launch here might at least help keep things moving ok until Silvermont, BayTrail and Merrifield can show up and fill the gaps in Intel’s product stack.

Haswell Ultrabook Requirements
  2013 Requirement
Wake < 3 seconds from S4 sleep
Standby >= 7 days standby with fresh data (Connected Standby or Intel Smart Connect)
Idle Battery Life >= 9 hours Windows idle
Video Playback >= 6 hours HD Video Playback (1080p local video)
Software Anti-virus, Anti-malware (Win 8 Defender is ok), Intel anti-theft protection & identity theft protection
Networking 2x2 802.11n minimum + Intel WiDi
Voice Voice Command/Control Hardware Ready (dual-array microphone baseline)
Display Touch screen
Thickness < 23mm for 14" and above
< 20mm 13.3" and below
(convertibles include the thickness of both pieces)
Storage 16GB of Solid State Storage minimum, 16K PCMark Vantage Score, 80MB/s sequential transfer

So Haswell is important, Intel management is in a state of flux, and there’s a lot of Haswell to bring to market. The result? We get a staggered launch, with only some parts ready to go immediately. Interestingly enough, it’s the high-end Haswell desktop parts that are most ready at this point. The stakes are high enough that we had to resort to testing a customer reference platform in order to evaluate Intel’s new Iris Pro graphics. And today, we had to track down a pre-production Haswell Ultrabook in Taiwan to even be able to bring you this review of Haswell ULT.

I’ve spent the past few days in Taipei hunting for bandwidth, running tests in my hotel room and trying my best to understand all there is to know about Haswell ULT, the third Haswell I outlined in our microarchitecture piece last year.

On-Package PCH, The First Single Chip Haswell
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  • warezme - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    "the processor graphics story by finally delivering discrete GPU class gaming performance". I hate this summation being thrown around, as I'm sure it will get re quoted somewhere as gospel. It is definitely NOT discrete GPU class gaming performance in any shape or form. There should be a limit to what is considered discrete GPU performance, like maybe 30-60FPS at, at least 1600x900 resolution and game settings across the board for all games set to Medium. That is not crazy or unreasonable for a true discrete GPU you would actually go out and buy. It shouldn't be unreasonable than to expect that in a built in GPU that is sold as "discrete GPU" quality. Reply
  • gnx - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Kudos! You have to love AnandTech for providing such detailed analysis, so soon after Haswell was made public!

    But it does seem that Haswell for Ultrabooks isn't so revolutionary as Intel seemed to imply. Not that we have much of a choice, since ARM isn't an option, and AMD doesn't provide much of an alternative, but I was personally hoping for more from Haswell.

    Maybe it's change the equation for Windows Tablets? look forward to more from AnandTech!
    Reply
  • Kiijibari - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Can you please add Wh numbers in the Battery Life Test graph (http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph7047/55504... or normalize them at least like in the previous tables? Seems to me that you compare 2 different batteries there. Haswell is great sure, but not THAT great ;-)

    Yes it is explained in the text below, but a picture not matching the numbers in the text is useless and misleading. A picture should be worth more than 1000 words and not demand reading 1000 words of explanation ;-)
    Reply
  • broccauley - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    Does anyone know what the status of "activity alignment" for power optimisation is on the Linux kernel and how it compares with Windows 8? I assume such techniques were added when the changes from the Android branch were merged? Reply
  • Henry 3 Dogg - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    "And today, we had to track down a pre-production Haswell Ultrabook in Taiwan to even be able to bring you this review of Haswell ULT."

    And today, a day later, you can pick up a production Haswell ULT based MacBook Air in your local Apple store.
    Reply
  • lhurt - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    So are Platform Activity Manager (Windows) and Timer Coalescing (OSx) two different OS implementations of the same idea, to take advantage of Intel's Power Optimizer and are Haswell cpus required to get the benefit? Reply
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    "Any hopes for pairing a meaningfully high performance discrete GPU with Haswell ULT are dead."
    This is Intel's method of CLOSING other discrete GPU solution on their cpus towards the future. This is a predatory move and premeditated !. Just stop buying their chips as this is forcing users into a proprietary path using their inferior gpu technology. It is a selfish and disgusting move. Now ARM is going to cream them on the desktop side as well soon and server side in time.
    Reply

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