Intel has begun shipping its next generation ‘Haswell’ chips to PC manufacturers. The shipments indicate that the microchip giant is moving along with its Haswell distribution schedule in spite a bug in the accompanying Lynx Point chipset. The new Haswell chips — which are expected to hit the market in June — comprise the next generation mainstream Intel processors that will power ultrabooks, laptops and desktop PCs.
Intel is likewise expected to reiterate plans to start shipping its next generation chips for smartphones and tablet PCs by the end of the year.
The Haswell lineup will be running on the new LGA 1150 socket, which means PC enthusiasts who wish to upgrade to a Haswell CPU will need to purchase new motherboards with the Lynx Point chipset.
Observers had earlier hinted at a bug in the LGA 1150 chipset which reportedly causes a small subset of USB 3.0 thumb drives to disappear after entering standby. In some instances, removable devices have to be reconnected in order to function properly, according to some sources.
Intel has issued a product change notification (PCN) documenting a chipset USB errata. The document states that Lynx Point chipsets with the bug will be in production during the initial ramp. Intel has nevertheless assured consumers that the bug will not cause data corruption or data loss.
New chips on the block
As of this writing, observers expect Intel to release some 14 different Haswell desktop processors spanning its i5 and i7 lineup this year. The Intel Haswell lineup includes six standard and eight low-power CPUs, according to a chart leaked to VR Zone late last year.
The Haswell flagship, the quad core i7 4770K, reportedly has a clock speed of 3.5Ghz. The high end i7 processor turbo-boosts to 3.9 Ghz, boasts 8MB of cache, and features Intel’s hyper-threading technology, which allows it a total of eight processing threads.
This early, enthusiast say that — since the i7 4770K is a “K” series SKU — users should be able to overclock the chip without much effort. The only other K series chip in the Haswell lineup is the i5 4670K, which touts a clock speed of 3.4 Ghz and 6MB of cache.
According to Intel, the micro-architecture of the Haswell chips will deliver the single largest generation-to-generation battery life improvement in the company’s manufacturing history. Observers have nonetheless noted that the i7 4770K has an 84-Watt TDP, which is higher than the 77-Watt TDP of Ivy Bridge chips. This is in spite of the fact that the new Haswell chips are supposed to be better optimized to use the power saving technologies utilized by the tri-gate transistors which Intel first used in current Ivy Bridge chips.
Next generation chips for smartphones and tablets
Observers also expect Intel to soon make an announcement concerning its next generation ‘Merrifield’ chips for smartphones and ‘Bay Trail’ microchips for tablet PCs. The Bay Trail and Merrifield chips will employ Intel’s overhauled Atom technology. Apart from promising longer battery life, Merrifield chips using the revised Atom technology will allow smartphone users to access their favorite phone system (more info) applications faster and more efficiently than previous smartphone chips designed along the Atom micro-archictecture.
Bay Trail chips are meanhwile expected to offer twice the performance of the ‘Clover Trail’ processors that power today’s Windows 8 tablets. The new Bay Trail chips are the most powerful Atom chips to date, according to Intel.
Intel hopes its new chip lineups for desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones will help raise flagging sales. In January, Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, reported that is quarterly profits fell some 27 percent from year-ago results. Experts attribute the decrease to a decline in PC chip sales. Intel sold six percent fewer PC chips in the fourth quarter of 2012. The last quarter of the year is usually the time when the chip-manufacturing giant makes the bulk of its annual sales revenues.