Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Intel’s fourth generation offers power — for a price.

Intel’s fourth generation offers power — for a price.

4th-gen-processor

Intel recently took the wraps off the fourth generation of its Core i-series processors, a family previously known under the code name of “Haswell”. You won’t see Haswell anywhere on the packaging or labelling (or indeed, anywhere beyond tech enthusiasts writing about them), but each generation of Intel processors has its own naming convention. If you care, Haswell is replacing Ivy Bridge, the third generation series that’s now technically last generation. A little more on that later.

So if they’re not called Haswell, how can you pick them? It’s all in the numbers. Intel uses CPU numbers not to measure clock speed — which was the easy way to pick processor performance way back when only the CPU grunt mattered that way — but to differentiate features between desktop and mobile CPUs, and those with more or fewer advanced features. The one constant you’ll find in an Core i3 (entry level), Core i5 (mid) and Core i7 (high end) CPU is that the first number after the specification will detail its generation. So a Core i5-4200U is a fourth generation Haswell processor, because of the 4, while a Core i5-3437U is a third generation, Ivy Bridge part. As with most technology, while it’s still brand spanking new, you’ll pay a premium for fourth generation processors, and Intel’s rollout scheme rather emphasises that, with premium processors first off the line, followed later in the year by more mid-range, affordable CPUs.

As you’d expect from a newer processor, Haswell chips are meant to be more powerful as well as more power efficient (for laptops and tablets), with improved onboard graphics capabilities to boot. It’s pretty clear that Intel’s picking tablets and laptops as the future, because while the new quad-core desktop Haswell parts certainly aren’t slouches, most of the real headline features are of most benefit to mobile users. Intel’s also revised the Ultrabook standard to require much longer idle battery life — up to nine hours idling versus a minimum five hours for Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks — and a requirement for a standby time of an impressive seven days. We’re yet to see Haswell-based Ultrabooks in the marketplace, but they should appear very shortly, along with a host of other systems utilising the fourth generation processor family.

So does this mean you should hold off on buying a laptop or desktop until it has a fourth generation Core product in it? Not entirely. Leaving competitor AMD aside for the moment, even if you were dedicated to an Intel-only solution, it’s worth bearing in mind that the systems on store shelves right now with third generation processors in them are still quite powerful, and moreover, there’s a strong impetus for them to be shifted off store shelves as the new fourth generation systems come along.

As such, it should be possible to find bargains in slightly older generation chips, simply because the new stuff is coming, and if you’re working to a tight budget, that could mean a slightly better system (with slightly older processor) than you might get with a “new” fourth generation CPU nestled in its innards. That’s especially true if you’re still keen on a desktop as your primary computer, because the majority of the really show-stopping improvements lie on the mobile side.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Recent News

pc-clean

Most people, if given the choice, will try to skip out on doing the evening dishes, or for that matter even loading a dishwasher. It’s not exactly the most thrilling of chores to undertake, but if you don’t clean your dishes somehow, everything ends up dirty and unusable. It’s much the same story for your… More 

fb

Facebook is a service beloved by many, because it makes it so very easy to keep in touch with friends, family, acquaintances and more in an environment that’s generally easy to use and that can be quite fun. It’s one of the world’s busiest web sites, and one of the tech world’s most valuable companies…. More 

browsers

The chances are good that when you browse the web, you’re doing so via Google’s own particular browser, Google Chrome. Chrome has anywhere between 47% to 60% of the browser market sewn up. That might not seem that impressive, but the next largest market share is usually given to Apple’s Safari browser at between 13%… More 

mackeyboarda

Apple sells itself as a premium brand, both in style terms, but also for the quality of the computing equipment it sells. That’s a proposition that can very much become quasi-religious for some folks, although few would suggest that Apple sells bad computing equipment. Wherever you sit on that spectrum, there’s no doubting that consumers… More