updated 02:25 pm EDT, Tue September 13, 2011
Intel Haswell to make huge strides in battery life
Intel at its Developer Forum provided more details about its Haswell processor foundation for 2013. Although 22 nanometers like the Ivy Bridge design due early next year, it will be much more power efficient than an existing chip. The company plans for a 30 percent reduction in active power use over a modern Core i5 and that notebooks could last a complete 24 hours on a charge without needing extended cells, competing with ARM tablets.
Standby time will also get better by as much as twenty times, Intel said. Systems using an OS with a connected standby, like Windows 8, should still get 10 days on a charge even with apps getting quiet updates in the background. Apple already gets 30 days of standby on the MacBook Air but with a deep sleep that doesn't keep apps alive.
As a longer term project, Intel also showed the Near Threshold Voltage Core, an example of the extremely low power consumption that its chips could manage in the future. A demo at the forum showed a computer running basic animations powered only by a solar cell the size of a stamp. Even current ARM devices like smartphones can often only slow down their battery drain with solar cells, not power the complete device.
Haswell is considered integral to Intel's concept for ultrabooks, or systems that take the MacBook Air concept to Windows and other platforms. It hopes for 40 percent of notebooks to fit the very thin, full performance and long battery life category by the end of 2012 using Ivy Bridge. The longer-term strategy could theoretically see computers where battery life is no longer a practical issue during a typical day but where the capabilities are the same as with traditionally thicker notebooks.