Haswell Processor

What is Haswell Processor?

Haswell refers to the codename of the microarchitecture of the Intel processors belonging to the 4th generation I-series.

It is the successor of Ivy Bridge and is built on a 22 nm manufacturing process with the FinFET 3D or non-planar transistors and is part of the Intel 8 and 9 series chipsets.

Understanding Haswell Processor

What is Haswell Processor

The Haswell microarchitecture of Intel is based on the 22 nm manufacturing technology and was introduced for the first time in 2013.

It is the 22 nm manufacturing process of the Intel Haswell architecture that optimizes its power savings and offers reasonably good performance benefits.

Some of the performance benefits offered in comparison to Ivy Bridge are:

Suitable to be used in desktop and laptop computers, the desktop variants of Haswell CPUs come in quad-core and dual-core variety.

The low-power versions of the Haswell processors can be used in ultrabooks, tablets and even in the Intel Next Unit of Computing or NUC mini-PCs.

History and Design

Official announcement of processors with Haswell microarchitecture was made by Intel at Computex Taipei 2013 on June 4, 2013.

However, a fully functional Haswell CPU was demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum in 2011.

The Intel Haswell processors are used in combination with different types of Intel chipsets such as:

The 22 nanometer photolithographic manufacturing process of Haswell also brought in low power CPUs for hybrid or convertible ultrabooks that were denoted by the U suffix.

The processor architecture uses the non-planar or 3D FinFET transistor design which makes these processors much more power efficient and improves the performance.

In fact, when you compare the Intel Haswell processors with its technological predecessor, Ivy Bridge, it offers 6% better performance in sequential processing while running only 15oC hotter.

In the Haswell microarchitecture, all the clock domains are derived from the base clock speed or BCLK, which is also referred to as DMICLK.

The voltage is controlled in the Haswell processors by the FIVR based architecture.

Here, the voltage arrives through the VCCin input into the CPU from the motherboard and then to the voltage regulator.

All the different voltage planes are derived internally from there which includes VRING, VCORE, and VSA.

The memory voltage is however supplied from the motherboard to its rail.

As for overclocking, there is a Coarsed BCLK ratio provided by Haswell which can be 100 MHz, 125 MHz, or 166.66 MHz.

The chipset generates the clock internally but motherboard Original Design Manufacturers or ODMs can also generate it separately as well.

Every single BCLK from the PCH or Platform Controller Hub is provided for in < 1 MHz steps. Depending on the different Coarsed BCLK ratio, it may work out as follows:

In practice, however, it is quite different and is typically restricted by the DMI PLL or the PCI Express interface.

Codenames

The Intel Haswell processors come in different codenames. Here is the list of the codenames along with their abbreviations and targets:

Socket Types

The Haswell processors come in different types of sockets such as:

Features

There are a few specific features of the Haswell processor that resembles that of the Ivy Bridge. These carried over features are:

Additional Features

Some of the additional features of the Intel Haswell processor include:

It also supports an internet-based interval check-in system which helps to detect thefts.

New Features

This processor also comes with some new features such as:

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Changed Features

There are a few specific features that have been changed from the Ivy Bridge such as:

There are also a few changes made in the Central Processing Unit and the Graphics Processing Unit of the Intel Haswell processors.

CPU Changes

The changes made in the CPU allow the Haswell processors to handle several general purpose instructions with an output of 4 ops/cycle.

Its predecessor could handle only CLC or Custom Loop Configurations, NOP or no Operations, and a few vector MOVs and a few zeroing instructions such as XOR, SUB, and vector analogs.

Some of the changes made in the CPU include:

GPU Changes

The graphics performance of the Intel Haswell processor is quite good and it is due to the hardware support for OpenGL 4.3, OpenCL 1.2, and Direct3D 11.1.

There are 4 versions of graphics chip integrated into the Intel Haswell processor depending on its specific model such as:

Out of these, the GT3 version comes with 40 Execution Units as compared to 16 of such units present in its predecessor, Ivy Bridge.

The GT3e version, on the other hand, also comes with 40 EUs as well as an on-package of eDRAM or embedded Dynamic Random Access Memory.

However, these are called Crystalwell and are available only in desktop BGA-only R-SKUs and mobile H-SKUs.

The eDRAM acts effectively as a Level 4 cache memory and is shared between the CPU and the on-die GPU dynamically.

It also acts as a victim cache to the L3 cache memory of the CPU.

Cache Changes

Talking about the cache memory, the memory hierarchy in Haswell processors has also undergone some significant changes with respect to its predecessor.

The bandwidth of the cache for load and store has been doubled from 32 B/cycle and 16 B/cycle respectively.

The improvements are quite significant which supports the new gather instructions as well as the transactional memory.

Add to that, the new port 7 includes an address generation.

With the changes made in the cache hierarchy of the Intel Haswell processor, it has improved its functionality and each of them is as follows.

The Level 1 instruction cache:

The Level 1 data cache:

The Level 2 cache:

The Level 3 cache:

The Level 4 cache:

And as for the Haswell TLB or the Translation Lookaside Buffer, there is a dedicated level one TLB for data cache and another for instruction cache.

Add to that, there is also a combined second level TLB. The breakup is as follows.

For 4KB page translations, the iTLB is 4-way set associative and divided between the two threads in a dynamic partition. It supports 128 entries.

And, for 2 MB or 4 MB page translations, the iTLB is fully associative and duplicated for each thread. It supports 8 entries.

As for the dTLB, for 4KB page translations, it is 4-way set associative and divided between the two threads in a fixed partition. It supports 64 entries.

And, for 2 MB or 4 MB page translations, the dTLB is 4-way set associative and supports 32 entries.

However, for 1 GB page translations, the dTLB is 4-way set associative and supports only 4 entries.

Finally, for the STLB, for 4 KB + 2 M page translations, it is a shared, 8-way set associative and supports 1024 entries.

Die Types

Different models of the Intel Haswell processors come with different types of die such as:

Types Available

This 4th generation chips are available in a variety of types which include and are not limited to:

Each of these varieties of Intel Haswell processors has different series and SKU suffixes that denote its power and efficiency.

Haswell Desktop Processors

For example, as for the Haswell desktop processors, these are available in Core i3, i5, and i7 variants and with about 1.4 billion transistors on a 177 mm2 die, where all models support different technologies such as:

Additionally, the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs also support AVX, AVX2, BMI1, BMI2, AES-NI, and FMA3.

The Core i3 and i7 models along with the Core i5 4570T and the Core i5 4570TE in particular also support Hyper-Threading or HT technology and the Core i5 and Core i7 models also support Turbo Boost 2.0.

And, all Core i5 and Core i7 models support Intel IOMMU, the Intel VT-d except the Core i5 4670K and Core i7 4770K.

The Intel HD graphics and Iris graphics come in the following variants in the Intel Haswell processors:

However, the release of Pentium G3258 marks the 20 years of the Pentium brand.

This Pentium Anniversary Edition comes with an unlocked multiplier.

The SKU suffixes in the Intel Haswell desktop processors are different and indicate as follows:

The Intel Haswell desktop processor of the Enthusiast / High-End level with 8 cores and 16 threads is Core i7 Extreme 5960X.

The two popular Intel Haswell desktop processors of the Enthusiast / High-End level with 6 cores and 12 threads are:

The different Intel Haswell desktop processors of the Performance level with 4 cores and 8 threads are:

The different Intel Haswell desktop processors of the Mainstream level with 4 cores and 4 threads are:

The different Intel Haswell desktop processors of the Mainstream level with 2 cores and 4 threads are:

The different Intel Haswell desktop processors of the Budget level with 2 cores and 2 threads are:

Haswell Server and Workstation Class Processors

And as for the server and workstation class processors are branded as Xeon E3 v3, Xeon E5 v3, and Xeon E7 v3 and have a common SKU suffix L, which denotes low power.

With about 5.56 billion transistors on a 661 mm2 dies size, all these models support different technologies such as:

The Haswell-EX models also support TSX but Haswell-E, Haswell-WS, and Haswell-EP do not due to bugs discovered in its implementation.

The different Intel Haswell server processors with variable number of cores and threads are:

Here is a list of some Intel Xeon E3 Haswell server processors with 4 cores and 8 threads:

The different Intel Haswell workstation processors with variable number of cores and threads are:

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Haswell Mobile Processors

And finally, as for the Haswell mobile processors, all of them support almost the same type of technologies and comes with as many as 1.3 billion transistors on a 181 mm2 die.

The different Intel Haswell mobile processors of the Performance level with 4 cores and 8 threads are:

The different Intel Haswell mobile processors of the Mainstream level with 2 cores and 4 threads are:

And finally, here is the list of the different Intel Haswell mobile processors of the Mainstream level with 2 cores and 2 threads:

The SKU suffixes of the mobile processors are as follows:

Irrespective of the type of Intel Haswell processor you need for your computer, make sure that you check their availability from the official website of Intel because a few specific models may be discontinued.

Haswell Processor Generation

The Intel Haswell processor belongs to the 4th generation of the Core I-series processor family.

These processors are found in Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 variants and are good to be used in almost every desktop computers, laptop computers, and tablets running on Windows.

Are Haswell Processors Still Good?

Well, considering the features and functionalities of it, the Intel Haswell processors, especially the i7s, are quite fine to use for office and for day to day computing tasks along with playing some modern games.

It is quite good and efficient enough to keep up with the gaming requirements of a few modern 1070 or 1080 games.

However, if you need to overclock to have the best gaming experience then you will need to go for a high-end model.

Its performance is limited for those biggest AAA titles.

One of the biggest drawbacks of this particular processor is perhaps its driver support.

You will not get anything more than the basics and just a few updates. Moreover, the modern motherboards normally do not support 4th generation processors actively any more.

Therefore, you should take this factor into account if you want to use this processor in your computer system because you may experience some issues while using some specific software programs or even with the current and upcoming versions of Windows operating systems.

And, its price seems to be a bit on the higher side considering the level of performance it delivers.

Having all said that, to be honest, the Intel Haswell processors are pretty usable and good by today’s standard and you can get a reasonably good gaming experience if you play the current games with a decent Graphics Processing Unit.

The reasons that make the Intel Haswell process or worthy are:

However, along with the plus points, also consider the caveats of Haswell processors when you make your final decision.

This processor is not designed for high-end desktop computing or gaming due to its major focus on mobile.

The performance gain of around 6% to 10% with respect to its predecessor is certainly not exceptional in any sense.

What Comes After Haswell?

The Intel Haswell processors were released in 2013 and after that Intel released other microarchitectures such as Broadwell in 2014, Airmont and Skylake in 2015.

Conclusion

So, that is about everything that you need to know about Intel Haswell processors.

Thanks to this article, you are now surely more knowledgeable than before and can make a quick decision as to whether or not you should use this 4th generation CPU in your computer.