There are five main “go fast” items under the bonnet of any computer (including notebooks and tablets). The motherboard, CPU, GPU, memory and hard disk – that’s about it really. Add a case, a screen, keyboard, mouse and power supply and voila.
Circa 1980 chips were 8 bit and a few MegaHertz - 20+ years later we see quad core, 64bit, 3+ GigaHertz chips that bear little resemblance. Moore’s law - that the number of transistors or integrated circuits doubles every 18 months has now been blown out of the water (in a good way).
The Intel ‘i’ series i.e. i3, i5, and i7 were first released in 2009. Haswell is the 4th generation and is all about lowering power requirements for x86/64 desktop, notebook and tablet (not iPad or Android) computers while delivering the most powerful processors yet.
Compared to the previous processors some models have twice the vector processing performance (better graphic speeds) and all offer at least 10% more processing power (eight executions per core versus six).
In essence all new Intel i5 and i7 based computers (over the next few months) will have more processing power and use less power – all for the same price or lower than the versions they replace. So it is worth the wait for Haswell.
For the techies
I won’t gratuitously cut and paste Wikipedia's reference - you can find pre-release stats there.
What I find interesting is that the desktop Core i7 will have a 3.9GHz burst, 8MB cache, unlocked clock, LGA 1550 socket supporting Dual channel DDR3-1600 ram that will have gamers dreaming of electric sheep. Even the entry level i5 desktop processor gets a 3.8GHz burst, 6MB cache that will beat all current CPU”s.
In the mobile field Haswell will be exclusively i7 (good) and there are 3.5 to 3.9 GHz burst, 6 and 8MB cache models that will offer more processing power and lower battery consumption than anything else today. Look for the entry level 4850HQ (High performance integrated GPU and Quad Core CPU) and the 4930MX (Mobile extreme) at the top end.
Haswell supports six USB3.0 channels and six SATA 3.0 ports. New Intel support chipsets (motherboards) will include the Z87 and Z85 (aimed at over-clockers and enthusiasts, allowing them to have up to three graphics cards in SLI/CrossFire), H87 chipset (mainstream chipset), the business oriented Q87, Q85 and B85 (budget) chipsets.
This is cutting edge and will make an appreciable difference to notebooks and tablets.