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Regular TechSpot readers will have no doubt spotted several mentions of Haswell on our front page this year. In the past few months we have covered everything from model names to performance and battery life claims. A key focus has been Haswell's graphics, with rumors suggesting its performance is set to be 2 to 3 times that of current HD 4000 integrated graphics.
So what is Haswell exactly? It is Intel’s 4th generation Core architecture which will see a major refresh of the entire Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 product lineup in 2013. Whereas last year’s Ivy Bridge was a "tick" release, Haswell is a tock and traditionally that's meant a more significant advance forward.
Instead of breaking new ground in performance, Ivy Bridge improves efficiency, marking the arrival of Intel's 22nm design process which uses new 3D transistors. This allows the flagship quad-core 3.5GHz Core i7-3770K to consume less power than the more modest Sandy Bridge i5-2500K.
Granted, the 19-watt power savings we recorded in our tests probably won't excite desktop users, but it does present a tangible benefit for battery-bound mobile machines. Ivy Bridge's improved fuel efficiency should grant laptops a little more mileage away from wall chargers.
Today the company is unveiling its full new line of Core i7 and Core i5 processors, accompanying chipsets and Centrino wireless options. Ivy Bridge is a 'tick' release, but Intel is calling it a tick+ due to the more significant overhaul the graphics side of things is getting. The new chips are set to provide 20–50% better GPU performance over Sandy Bridge, the kind of jump we'd normally expect from a tock release.
Having already discussed the new Tri-Gate transistors in great detail, the new 7-series chipsets, and some of the motherboards that use them, we are going to focus primarily on the Core i7-3770K processor in this review.
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