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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  • StealthGhost - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Is PCMark 8 Home less demanding than 1080p video? If not, it doesn't seem like the Asus can call itself an Ultrabook.

    Still, impressive gains in battery life. I hope this will carry over, to some extent at least, into the CPUs that will be in laptops like the MacBook Pros. Guess we will have to see when that review comes out =)
    Reply
  • StealthGhost - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    *Acer Reply
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    As far as I know the Ultrabook specs don't define a minimum luminance for the display. So Anand's test isn't relevant for the Ultrabook spec. Reply
  • axien86 - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Laptopmag just reviewed the Sony Vaio based on the i7-4500u and they also noted that performance wise the Haswell offered marginal improvement over Ivy Bridge laptops, while battery life was indicated as improved.

    One important characteristic that most laptop users want to know is regards to heat and fan noise. Laptopmag found that the Haswell i7-4500u based Sony Vaio found that the back of the laptop "reached a more troubling 110 degrees." They also found fan noise was definitely noticeable in a quiet room just running Word and a Youtube video.

    http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/sony-vaio...

    The question is, why hasn't Anandtech run extensive temperature and noise characteristic analysis on Intel Haswell processors and your current laptop?
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Likely because of lack of time. As Anand said in the article, he got the unit while in Computex, so basically he did the review between meetings. I'm pretty sure he didn't have the equipment with him to do temperature or noise tests properly but I'm sure this is something that will be tested in later reviews.

    Also, keep in mind that heat and fan noise are system-dependent. If the Vaio has poor cooling, then it will be hot and loud but that's not Haswell's fault (I'm not saying this is the case but we obviously need more reviews before any conclusions can be drawn).
    Reply
  • mavere - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    "The question is, why hasn't Anandtech run extensive temperature and noise characteristic analysis on Intel Haswell processors and your current laptop?"

    The WHr of battery that a laptop consumes is the exact same thing as its heat output.

    Anand is trying to test the Haswell platform, not the design deficiencies of any specific manufacturer. Sony's problems are its own.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Cause they had to run their test in Taiwan with a borrowed machine?

    I was rather disturbed by the temperature of Sony's Vaio Pro, as well as the instability of the carbon case, which must be paper thin... And their keyboard backlight has the worst bleed I've ever seen, they should have a look at Lenovo and Samsung keyboards...

    Well, I'll be waiting for more tests and the ULT Haswell with the Iris 5100 GPU. Maybe that'll rack up a high enough temperature to fry a steak.
    Reply
  • akbisw - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Sony has terrible cooling system in their laptops in general. The worst I have seen done by any manufacturer. Even my my old acer before their "reiteration" had better cooling design than current VAIO systems. Reply
  • Dnann - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    He probably didn't have the time considering the circumstances... Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    The fact that companies historically known for horrible battery life are getting good results out of Haswell with Intel's help is promising; but starting from such a horribly low baseline makes getting gains much easier. I'm much more interested in seeing what companies who've historically offered good battery run times will be able to do with Haswell. Reply

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