Ultrabooks with Haswell chips could use as little as 100mW while idle

Intel’s upcoming 4th generation Core processors are designed to offer better performance than today’s Ivy Bridge chips, but the new processors, code-named “Haswell,” will also use less power than today’s chips. That means we could see notebooks with tablet-like battery life, and maybe even fanless computers with Haswell chips.

But not only are Haswell chips expected to use less power while active than Ivy Bridge processors, they’ll be able to use far less while idle.

Interl low power

Intel says that devices with Haswell chips will be able to use as little as 100mW while idle. That’s compared with about 3W used by current chips.

In other words, you could start to see ultrabooks that idle like ARM-based tablets, using almost no power at all, while continuing to stay turned on and connected to the internet.

Intel is also advising device makers to use other components which will help reduce battery drain such as LPDDR3 memory and/or leave room in the PC case for higher capacity batteries, such as HDI (High Density Interconnect) technology.

via Ultrabook News

 

  • John Morris

    Admittedly these are good number for Intel. But this doesn’t compete with ARM quite yet. An idle CPU outdrawing RAM + WiFi by several times isn’t quite in the low power territory needed. It is still going to be restricted to largish tablets.

    Do the math, a phone or small tablet has maybe 4-10Wh available and if left completely idle should be good for a few days. That won’t be happening with this chip.

    • menting

      it’s probably a tradeoff of being able to ramp the processor up out from C10 quickly vs power at idle.

    • CyberGusa

      The math goes both ways, a phone or small tablet will still be multiple times less powerful than what Haswell will offer and still lacks a proper desktop OS for productivity.

      While the advance idling they’re stating here can allow a few days of casual usage too. Even ARM devices can drain quickly while in usage but these idle states are similar enough to ARM to allow similar run times.

      The Clover Trail ATOM for example already supports these low power states and provides better run for things like continuously playing videos than say a Tegra 3… not the best efficiency example for ARM but still shows this is in the ARM range.

      The main reason why present laptops can only last a few hours is because even when idling they’re using more power than most phones use at maximum load. While at load present laptops are using 17W/35W and even higher for the higher end systems.

      So this is a big change for what they can offer… and while Haswell still will use more power than ARM while being used, it’s providing multiple times more performance for that increased power usage!

      While, for those who want something more ARM like, there’s always the ATOM update with the 22nm Bay Trail coming out by end of September and when Merrifield comes out early next year to replace Medfield then that puts the next gen ATOM into Smart Phone!

      • Penn Taylor

        Your reply explores a slightly different axis from the OP, but it’s useful information and adds to the discussion. I don’t understand the downvotes. It seems to me that very few people who participate in the comments section of websites and blogs understand the purpose of the up- and down-vote buttons.

      • Jase

        It’s people who got their feelings hurt. He may often trail off outside the OP’s topic or disagree with his point but that shouldn’t warrant a down vote.

      • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

        I disagree on the “proper desktop os” part. This is only true for Windows which is hardly the only “proper” desktop OS.

        ARM chips are very powerful nowadays and are capable of running desktop Linuxes with very good speed.

        I use the Samsung ARM Chromebook with a full-blown Ubuntu 12.04 (for work as well) and it runs like a champ (Exynos 5250, dual Cortex-A15 at 1.7 Ghz, 2GB DDR3 RAM and huge memory bandwidth).

        It even runs hevyweight Java desktop applications fast (faster than my 5 year old Toshiba laptop which was state of the art when new).

        Chrome browser, LibreOffice & Thunderbird all run very fast.

        Windows may not be able to run on current ARM hw but desktop Linux definitely can and with a good user experience.

      • CyberGusa

        “I disagree on the “proper desktop os” part. This is only true for Windows which is hardly the only “proper” desktop OS.”

        No, it’s true of all desktop OS… Sure, companies like Canonical have managed to get Ubuntu working on a number of ARM products. Primarily because they managed to get support from the companies, like Samsung, to provide direct support.

        However, this isn’t the case for ARM in general… It’s still a highly fragmented platform with many using hardware with closed drivers that don’t provide support for Linux and even when they do it still requires more work to get it to work than it does on most x86 systems.

        You getting Ubuntu to run on that Samsung Chromebook for example is hardly as easy as it would be on a x86 system. Though it may seem pretty easy now that they’ve worked around many of the extra steps like working out how to interact with the firmware without needing to replace it with a custom one, etc.

        So getting a Linux distro to work on ARM varies on a device by device basis and how both the hardware and company that made the product supports it or doesn’t…

        Also lets not exaggerate, the Cortex A15 is a very good update for ARM but we’re still only seeing performance that only rivals the ATOM and that means performance that only rivals a netbook!

        Add that the ATOM hasn’t really improved much since it was first introduced over 5 years ago and was never top of the line even when new.

        So anything that was top of the line 5 years ago would still be multiple times more powerful than anything ARM could offer today!

        Performance is just good enough for running most Linux distros, but like Windows… if you had to do any serious work with powerful programs then it will quickly prove to not be enough!

        You also can’t as easily switch between distros!

        The diversity of ARM devices makes it pretty much impossible for all devices to be directly supported, which means most may only be able to use generic drivers, etc.

        So most users will often have to do their own ports and customizations to get a distro to run well on a given device unless it’s a popular model, etc.

        Btw, it wasn’t until Ubuntu 13.04 that they provided proper support for that Samsung ARM Chromebook!

      • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

        I somewhat agree on the cumbersome nature of desktop Linux on ARM systems, although I had to do very little extra work on top of ChrUbuntu (a community effort) in order to install Ubuntu on the Samsung ARM Chromebook. This is getting bet

        However, I believe you are fairly biased against ARM performance. I have recently installed Linux Mint 14 on an Acer Aspire One (only with N270 but, as you say, performance has not increased significantly in Atom in the last couple of years). Let’s just say that the two machines are not in the same category. Not in performance and not in battery life. The Chromebook wins hands down in every aspect. It provides at least 2-3 times the performance and 2-3 times the battery life (even with bigger screen and slightly smaller battery). My Chromebook often gives an 8hr runtime when only browsing and/or reading. All this without proper accelerated Xorg graphics driver.

        The 5250 software decodes good quality 520p H264 videos smoothly while Atoms simply choke on them. (mind you, withouth hw acceleration).

      • CyberGusa

        Sorry but I’m really not biased against ARM, I just know what they can actually provide!

        While ATOM hasn’t significantly improved its architecture in over 5 years. They have gone dual core and clocked a tad bit faster than they used to. This is just as relevant as ARM also going multi-core with dual and quad SoCs.

        Mind the N270 is single core and you’re trying to compare to a dual core ARM SoC!

        It also wasn’t until the ATOM also went SoC that they supported advance power management that allows running for hours!

        ARM has just improved more significantly in the last 5 years than the ATOM has but they started from much lower point in performance to begin with…

        Point is that compared core to core the ATOM still provides more performance than a ARM core… per core!

        So it takes twice as many ARM core to clearly beat an ATOM…

        Plus the reason the 5250 handles video so well is primarily because it has a relatively good GPU.

        Thing is that while the ATOM CPU may not have improved much, the GPU has improved about 3x since the early ATOMs.

        Mind that Imagination PowerVR GPU that the present ATOM SoCs are using is the same company that supplies GPU’s to Apple for the iPhone/iPad and a couple of other ARM products… Including the Sony PS Vita…

        While overall performance still is low for the PC market, the graphics are fully capable of handling video up to just over 20Mbps Blu Ray now and supporting full HD screens.

        So, unless trying to watch a video format not supported by the GPU… you should have no issues watching full HD on a modern ATOM tablet!

        There’s just no advantage there as they’re both using mobile GPU’s and ARM SoCs are more likely to use multiple GPU’s like the iPad does or a more cutting edge ARM GPU.

        Intel’s weak point has traditionally been graphics but my points have mainly been about CPU performance and that’s where ARM still has a long way to go.

        Rivaling the ATOM still puts them near the bottom of what Intel CPU’s can provide because the ATOM is at the bottom of what Intel CPU’s can provide!

        So don’t let how light weight or optimized software may make them seem more powerful than they really are… You’re really not doing anything yet that requires a lot of performance and thus aren’t seeing the limits.

        While Haswell is the next update to Intel’s much higher end Core i-Series of processors that provide multiple times the performance of either ATOM or ARM…

        So, while a OS may be easily run-able at even low performance ranges. To do work, high end gaming, and similar powerful tasks then you’re still going to need something a lot more capable than what either ATOM or ARM can yet provide and that’s where Haswell comes in…

  • Penn Taylor

    This is great news.

  • Radu

    That VR takes a lot of power, half of the power taken by the CPU. Isn’t a 79% efficiency VR kind of on the low end of what it is possible? Some VRs can be something like 95% efficient.

    • Martin

      That’s not what the pie chart means. It is showing that the VR is using 21% of the idle power which tells us nothing of its efficiency. :)

      • Radu

        Well, shouldn’t an ideal VR use 0% power?

      • CyberGusa

        Only when off… switching loss is natural… mind that this graph is of idle state… and also mind they’re talking about as low as a 100mw power state, which is far lower than 3W or higher that they’re limited to now… simple math, it’s achieving up to 30 times lower idle power usage than present Ivy Bridge chips.

  • Someone

    What are the chances that Haswell will come in a 10″ screened device? I’d like that. I don’t need a 1080p screen or anyhing.

  • P.tan

    It will be good if they can keep the price low, the intel CPU is the most expensive component in an ultrabook.