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Intel's Haswell released, MBP update imminent
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Jun 3, 2013, 10:48 AM
 
So finally the time for rumors is over, and we have some Haswell silicon out there - and just in time for a rumored MBP refresh at WWDC. Reviews all over, but I prefer Anandtech, and since the graphics is the most interesting, I'll link to that. The top model has increased from 16 execution units to 40, for a total of a 320 ALUs (this is roughly comparable to the core counts nVidia and AMD like to quote). The much-ballyhoed Crystalwell on-package eDRAM is present only on a small number of units, and apparently acts like a straight L4 cache. No frame buffers locked to the eDRAM - instead it just caches graphics data to keep the GPU fed.

This works...decently. It doesn't quite manage to catch the GT 650M (384 cores at a lower clock), much less the recently updated GT 750M (clock-boosted version of the above), but it's a massive boost from the old model. The CPU performance is moderately improved, but nothing earth-shattering.

Given all of this, I'd expect Apple to offer a version of the rMBP 15" with this graphics solution, but also offer a higher-end model with discrete graphics. The 13" rMBP is interesting - there are no dualcore Haswells out yet, so if Apple wants to update now, they'd have to go for a quadcore model. 47W for the whole shebang is a rather big step up from the current 13", even if the VRMs are included in the figure now. There are GT2 versions at 37W, however.

The reason I think Apple will use these heavily is that the rumor mill has been abuzz that Apple has been pushing Intel for better graphics options, and now that they are here, Apple will likely feel obligated to use them.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jun 3, 2013, 02:35 PM
 
Noticed that you put this in the Notebook section. Is there any / many benefits to Haswell in desktop machines? From what I've read it doesn't seem to be that much of a leap (was looking at the 4770K that a shop suggested this morning instead of the 3770K that I planned on getting).
     
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Jun 3, 2013, 06:39 PM
 
It's a pretty minor change for desktops. Average about 10% improvement due to IPC increase. Some apps will benefit from AVX2 and TSX when they optimize for it.
     
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Jun 3, 2013, 07:06 PM
 
The last time Apple dropped discreet graphics from the 15" MBP, the economy was sagging. I don't think we're gonna see them drop it from the upcoming models.
     
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Jun 3, 2013, 07:26 PM
 
I think we're at least 2 more generations away from intel having acceptable graphics.
     
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Jun 4, 2013, 12:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
I think we're at least 2 more generations away from intel having acceptable graphics.
Why do you say that?
The highest-end integrated graphics of Haswell has performance that is comparable with that the smaller brother of the 650M that is built into the 15" Retina MacBook Pro but uses much lower power at the same time than the Ivybridge + 650M combo. It even equals the 650M in a few benchmarks. I would say that solution delivers more than acceptable performance for everyone but gamers.

The only thing that stinks a bit is that as far as I understand they don't make a 2-core model with 128 MB eDRAM (for the 13" Retina MacBook Pro).
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Jun 4, 2013, 03:50 AM
 
The duals hadn't launched at all when I posted - they're out now (for mobile), and you're right, no Crystalwell. Some of the U (low-power chips for the MBA) do have the GT3 graphics, however. Either they're holding back the duals with good graphics for a later launch to make sure there is sufficient stock of the Crystalwell dies, or noone actually requested them. If it's the first, the 13" MBP doesn't get updated now. If it's the second, I think it goes quad.

Also, the TDPs... make no sense. The top dual, i7-4600M, has a 35W TDP. The top quad, i7-4950HQ, has a 47W TDP. For that, you get double the CPU cores, double the GPU cores, double the cache, and the Crystalwell eDRAM at essentially the same clocks (the base clock is 500MHz higher for the dual, but the turbos are only 100MHz off). The dual should be less than half of the big quad.
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Jun 4, 2013, 03:56 AM
 
mattyb: What mduell said. There are a few goodies for performance in corner cases and TSX might be useful down the line (When I saw the description of it, I immediately thought of the HFS+ code in the OS X kernel), but this is mainly about the integrated graphics (which the desktop doesn't need) and power saving (which is nice, but makes no big difference).

Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
I think we're at least 2 more generations away from intel having acceptable graphics.
IMO, the Intel graphics passed acceptable for all non-gamers with the Sandy Bridge HD3000 graphics. With the "Iris 5200" (GT3 with Crystalwell), I think they're a decent gaming option. Not at high resolutions, but laptops usually don't have high resolutions.

EDIT: Put another way: ATi and nVidia used to make chips for all possible levels of graphics. Over time, they have lost the lower tiers. They make the top card and then two levels below, with some significant nerfs of each chip to fill in the missing space. You can quibble about the terminology, as there is GK110/Titan above and AMD just put out a voidfiller chip (Bonaire, Radeon 7790), they still sell lower-end chips from older processes etc, but basically this is how they position the chips.

Crystalwell means that they now have competition on the third level down - the chips that nVidia calls GK107 and AMD calls Cape Verde now have similar performance to Intel's best integrated graphics. Now, we can argue that the non-nerfed chips in each category, the GT760M and the 7870M on the mobile side, still beat Intel's chips by a decent margin, but they're only doing so by having a TDP for only the GPU that is significantly higher than what Intel has for the entire CPU+GPU+eDRAM package (including VRMs). If Intel wanted to, they could turn up the clockspeed to compete. This is what I mean by good enough even for gamers - the GK107/Cape Verde series exist as entry-level gaming chips, and those chips now have a reasonable Intel competitor.
( Last edited by P; Jun 4, 2013 at 08:15 AM. )
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Jun 4, 2013, 08:07 AM
 
They're still amgeneration behind in performance, though they're gaining fast.
Look at the rMBP resolution again.
Also they haven't put out osx OpenCl drivers yet.
     
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Jun 4, 2013, 08:32 AM
 
these things ain't cheap.
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Jun 4, 2013, 02:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
They're still amgeneration behind in performance, though they're gaining fast.
Look at the rMBP resolution again.
Also they haven't put out osx OpenCl drivers yet.
Do you mean the 650M and the 750M? They're the same chip, just higher clocked because nVidia saw the same tests we just did and decided to respond. Also, if you look closer, you'll see that the main difference is the performance with antialiasing. Iris also does much better at synthetics than at actual games - likely an effect of less optimized driver and the fact that no game developer has had access to the chip to code for it before.
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Jun 4, 2013, 09:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Do you mean the 650M and the 750M? They're the same chip, just higher clocked because nVidia saw the same tests we just did and decided to respond.
The thing is that the air is getting thin for discrete graphics. Even the most powerful MacBook Pro (and the 15" MacBook Pros are the only ones with discrete graphics at the moment) may switch to purely integrated graphics solutions. The only market that's open to nVidia is the gaming enthusiast and computing segment -- which are niche markets.

The only gap in the line-up I see are 2-core Haswells with Crystalwell.
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Jun 5, 2013, 03:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The thing is that the air is getting thin for discrete graphics.
Exactly this. Intel integrated graphics have killed off slice after slice of nVidia's and AMD's market as they got better. Crystalwell doesn't kill the midrange GPU market because it won't be in every processor at this price level, but that's just a question of the price. If Intel wants to, they can make a version that clocks higher at a higher TDP to compete further up the range and drop the price on the current models.

It seems interesting to me that the model number for the top Iris graphics chip is 5200. Given how Intel usually numbers things, that would imply that there is room to grow.

Also note that the base "HD4600", what any regular voltage mobile Core iSomething will have, roughly ties a 630M and the top of the Radeon 7600M series. Yes, those are rebrands from an earlier generation, but still: another few cuts from below. With nVidia crying about how the next process shrink won't give them much performance, I fear that they're in a bad place.
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Jun 5, 2013, 04:10 AM
 
I think eventually they only market that remains for nVidia and AMD are SoCs and top-of-the-line GPUs/GPGPUs (think highest-end gamers and workstations). It also seems that they are still scaling down xxx W designs rather than scale x~xx W designs up. nVidia has already taken the first few steps in this direction with its Tegra line and their plans involve custom ARM cores and such.

To be honest, I'm much more worried about AMD: they can't seem to land design wins in the tablet, let alone phone market nor are their current APU offerings very compelling (performance-wise somewhere in between an Atom and a Core i3) -- with the possible exception of low-margin bargain basement notebooks.
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Jun 5, 2013, 05:08 AM
 
I think nVidia will start to lean even more heavily on compute. Its HPC products, with GK110 as its flagship, sell for insane amounts of money.

nVidia's problem when scaling down is its cluster size. All GPUs are manufactured as a number of clusters of computing units. AMD has 32 clusters (called CUs) on the top-end Radeon 7970. nVidia only has 8 clusters (called SMXes) in their comparable Geforce GTX 680. AMD makes versions all the way down to 6 clusters in discrete cards (Oland) and down to 2 clusters in the integrated Jaguar chips. nVidia can't go down that far, because it can't sell half a cluster. In fact, it seems it can't even sell a single cluster - the smallest they make is 2 SMXes in the GK107. Anything slower uses older chips on older processes, and that's not a good way to deliver performance at low power.

(For comparison, Intel's 5000 series uses 4 "subslices", which will let them drop all the way down to a quarter of the power in the low-end Pentium and Celeron chips).

Right now, AMD's survival is tied to the next generation consoles. For all of the sour grapes comments from nVidia, this was a big win and AMD seems to have executed well. If the new consoles sell well and AMD has managed to make some money off them, that will be a lifeline going forward. They also have a chance if Windows 8 starts selling on tablets - Silvermont might be better than Jaguar, but Silvermont isn't here yet, and Jaguar is.
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Jun 5, 2013, 05:41 AM
 
Good observation, I've forgotten about consoles (they're in my blind spot of technology). It's also good for AMD that a Crystalwell-type buffer solution isn't out of the cards since the XBox One (stupidest product name ever since Windows Phone 7 phone) uses an eSRAM buffer to mask the slower memory bus (compared to the PS4).
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Jun 8, 2013, 09:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
I think we're at least 2 more generations away from intel having acceptable graphics.
I agree. I find it pretty sad to have a high end Pro machine shooting for yesterdays graphics and getting praise for it.

AnandTech | Intel Iris Pro 5200 Graphics Review: Core i7-4950HQ Tested

Looks like the 5200 is more closer to the 640M than the 650M. I hope we don't get an integrated only option for the 15" line. The 13" and an entry model 15" I can understand. As one that dual boots and does gaming, I hope the machine gets better with the next update and doesn't step back in graphic performance... again. Hopefully the dual option we currently have now keeps going as an option.
     
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Jun 9, 2013, 05:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by exca1ibur View Post
I agree. I find it pretty sad to have a high end Pro machine shooting for yesterdays graphics and getting praise for it.
Again: not yesterday's graphics. The 2011 MBPs had a Radeon 6750, and the Iris 5200 is measurably faster than that (even the 5100 is faster). Intel has managed to effectively match nVidia graphics while using a fraction of the power budget and the space in the box. If Apple decides to use that chip in the 15", they can either decrease the size and weight of the box, or increase battery life.

Originally Posted by exca1ibur View Post
AnandTech | Intel Iris Pro 5200 Graphics Review: Core i7-4950HQ Tested

Looks like the 5200 is more closer to the 640M than the 650M. I hope we don't get an integrated only option for the 15" line. The 13" and an entry model 15" I can understand. As one that dual boots and does gaming, I hope the machine gets better with the next update and doesn't step back in graphic performance... again. Hopefully the dual option we currently have now keeps going as an option.
Look closer. The 650 wins in current games, but is essentially tied in the synthetics. This indicates that the gap is mostly in software - first generation drivers and games not optimized for the brand new Intel chip.

I also hope for a dual GPU option, but not with a 650 or 750. If Apple wants to keep a dual option, they must step up the range a bit - something like a 765 or 770 (the GK106 chip, which didn't exist at the last MBP launch). That would cost space in box otherwise spent on battery, however, so we'll have to see about that.
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Jun 9, 2013, 07:06 PM
 
In related news, for light workloads, Haswell increases batterly life by almost 60 % (per Wh of battery)! If you balance a loss in GPU performance which can be at least somehow mitigated by improvements in the drivers with such an improvement in the battery life department, I think it seems ever more likely that Apple will ditch discrete GPUs in the mobile line-up altogether (with the possible exception of a BTO option/top-end model with a discrete GPU). However, as P pointed out, a 750M will probably be too slow to make the battery life/performance balance tip in favor of a discrete GPU.
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Jun 10, 2013, 03:45 AM
 
That is much better than I expected. Haswell's "S0ix" (yes, that's the name of the feature) means that the system can drop to a much lower energy state without going to sleep - it appears that that is effective. There is also "Panel Self Refresh", where the GPU can go to sleep while the display keeps showing the same image, but I'm not sure that that is in effect here - apparently the panel makers don't like the idea.
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Jun 10, 2013, 06:04 AM
 
Well, fortunately I reckon Apple has enough pull with the panel makers to »just make it happen!« I was also honestly positively surprised about the increase in battery life, and I'm more convinced than ever that Apple will ditch discrete GPUs for (almost) all models of its refreshed notebooks. I'd make that trade in a heartbeat (at least if the cpu has a nice and shiny 128 MB L4 cache ).

I hope they have enough pull with Intel to also get a 2c Crystalwell part, but it seems that Intel's engineers are in overdrive to just validate all the permutations of Haswell silicon.
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Jun 10, 2013, 09:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I hope they have enough pull with Intel to also get a 2c Crystalwell part, but it seems that Intel's engineers are in overdrive to just validate all the permutations of Haswell silicon.
I think that the 13" MBP goes quadcore now - if the battery life has gone up that much, that means that the average power usage has dropped correspondingly. Average power translates directly to fan noise, so I think Apple will be able to live with the hotter quad in the 13" MBP - at least with cTDP down. With the 13" MBP out, that leaves only the low-end mini on a regular-voltage dual, and I doubt that that model would get Crystalwell in any case.
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Jun 10, 2013, 05:05 PM
 
Yea, they could do a quad core 13" with some SDP trickery to keep the power consumption from ever getting too high.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 07:59 AM
 
Perhaps, especially if they implement more aggressive throttling. Given the advantage Haswell has in that department, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a quad core machine. One that that hasn't seen a lot of attention was the adoption of PCIe SSDs in the MacBook Airs. Anandtech has throughput of ~800 MB/s!
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Jun 11, 2013, 09:43 AM
 
Are there any comparisons between the old 1.7GHz i5 and the Haswell 1.3GHz i5? I know they have the Turbo 2.6GHz mode, but going from 1.7 to 1.3 seems odd for a new model.

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Jun 11, 2013, 09:57 AM
 
Anand tested that:

AnandTech | 2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

TL;DR: CPU speed is almost exactly identical with the last generation.
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Jun 11, 2013, 01:06 PM
 
I'm thinking the next MBP (Retina) update will be a pretty good one. Much better battery life, new CPU etc, new wifi too. Do we think they'll run a 4K external panel?
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Jun 11, 2013, 03:28 PM
 
Yes, Haswell integrated graphics supports 4K resolution. It's one of the new points.
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Jun 12, 2013, 01:07 AM
 
Why Weren't the pros updated at WWDC?
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 05:27 AM
 
Excellent question. Supply situation possibly, or the fact that they're still quite new (update in February). I would expect something before back-to-school though.
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Jun 12, 2013, 07:35 AM
 
According to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide page, MBPr is the most recent update after the new MBA, iMac and Mac mini are more likely to be next in line. Mac Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy Your Mac, iPod or iPhone

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Jun 12, 2013, 09:39 AM
 
It only looks that way because the MBP got a minor clockspeed bump mid-generation. The last big update was in October for the 13" (and that model is still around) and June for the 15" (which was then clock-bumped in February). The rMBP can really take advantage of this update, and it's due for one, so I'm a bit surprised that it hasn't happened yet.

I think that the mini is the last in line now. It often goes a long time between updates, and none of the cheaper Haswells have launched yet. The iMac I think will be updated sooner or later, but it's not really urgent, as the changes there are not significant (My guess: it will get Haswell CPUs of the same level as the current Ivy Bridge CPUs, the SSD moved to PCIe, hopefully better prices on SSD and Fusion disk combos, and a slight clockspeed bump for the GPUs).
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Jun 12, 2013, 10:33 AM
 
I'm disappointed there was no update for the Pros. I'm in the market for one. I want to replace my late 2008, aluminum unibody. Been a good little machine, but it's getting long in the tooth.
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 12:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by bbales View Post
I'm disappointed there was no update for the Pros. I'm in the market for one. I want to replace my late 2008, aluminum unibody. Been a good little machine, but it's getting long in the tooth.
I have the same one and its starting to creak a bit. I fear for the nVidia chip(s) in it, I think they are beginning to die slowly. I'm thinking the next rMBP would be a good one to go for, just gotta find a big pile of cash.
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:12 PM
 
Aluminium unibody is long in the tooth? I dream of aluminium unibodies, I think my white 2007 MacBook knows this and is getting cranky

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Jun 13, 2013, 10:59 AM
 
Semiaccurate keeps hinting that there is something extra going on with these. I don't have subscriber access, so the only thing I can read from it is that there is some sort of news there.
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Jun 18, 2013, 11:31 AM
 
I'm surprised they didn't kill the MBP line entirely, as the MBA are similarly spec'd and the MBP are definitively going toward the MBA territory (thinness, no optical drive, soldered RAM, SSD-only, etc). You can put an i7 in the Air, and besides the retina display, I don't see much difference between the lines..
     
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Jun 18, 2013, 09:15 PM
 
Upgradability and screen size. For me those are deal breakers.
     
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Jun 19, 2013, 01:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
You can put an i7 in the Air, and besides the retina display, I don't see much difference between the lines..
Not all Core i7s are made equal, the one you find in a Retina MacBook Pro is significantly more powerful. You can already tell from the TDP which is more than twice as high. The 15" RMBP also has four cores instead of two, and it is not unlikely that the 13" RMBP will also get a quad core CPU in the next refresh. Moreover, the GPUs are also a lot more powerful in the retinas.
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Jun 19, 2013, 01:56 AM
 
The GPU in the retina 13" has (up to this revision) been the same as in the Airs, no?
     
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Jun 19, 2013, 02:20 AM
 
Not quite, they're clocked differently. Since I don't know the specs of the yet unreleased Haswell Retina MacBook Pros, I'll compare the 2012 13" models to each other: both machines have what Intel calls HD4000 graphics, but the Air's is clocked between 350 and 1050 MHz/1150 MHz while the Retina's clockspeed ranges from 650 MHz to 1100/1250 MHz (depending on the model). Since the Retina's CPU has twice the TDP (35 W as opposed to 17 W), you can expect less thermal throttling, but comparing actual performance is difficult because the Retina has to drive a lot, lot more pixels than the Air, so I'd say that in practice the 13" Retina was slower than the Air GPU-wise.

Also the CPU clockspeeds are very different: 1.7-2.4 GHz/2.0-3.0 GHz vs. 2.5-2.9 GHz/2.9-3.4 GHz (max dual core turbo).

With Haswell, the situation is much more complicated: if Apple goes all-out with the CPU on the 13", they can put a significantly more powerful CPU and GPU in it (four cores instead of two, GPUs with varying power and even 128 MB L4 Cache/graphics buffer memory). So while the new 2013 Air has about the same CPU performance as its predecessor (but vastly better battery life), the Retina MacBook Pro could get a significant performance upgrade in both, the CPU and GPU department.
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Jun 19, 2013, 04:59 AM
 
Intel's numbering system is as usual a complete mess. The graphics part works out to the following:

HD 2000: Sandy Bridge low-end graphics, 6 Execution Units (EU), any clock
HD 2500: Ivy Bridge low-end graphics, 6 EUs, any clock
HD 3000: Sandy Bridge high-end graphics, 12 EUs, any clock
HD 4000: Ivy Bridge high-end graphics, 16 EUs, any clock
HD 4200: Haswell midrange graphics, 20 EUs, very low clock for Y-series processors (new very low TDP class that Intel wants to push into tablets)
HD 4400: Haswell midrange graphics, 20 EUs, reduced clock for U-series processors (the regular low TDP chip that the MBA usually gets)
HD 4600: Haswell midrange graphics, 20 EUs, regular clock for any mobile or desktop chip
HD 5000: Haswell high-end graphics, 40 EUs, reduced clock for U-series
Iris 5100: Haswell high-end graphics, 40 EUs, regular clock for any mobile or desktop
Iris Pro 5200: Haswell top-of-the-line, 40 EUs with 128 MB on-package cache, regular clock

The point is that something marked HD 3000 or HD 4000 in particular can vary significantly in performance depending on the chip it is installed in.

As for judging the processors themselves: The i7 or i5 in front only tells you how expensive that CPU is for the OEM to buy. The CPU numbering system is a mess - personally I have mostly given up trying to learn it, so I just copy the model number into ark.intel.com and see what the specs are.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jun 19, 2013, 08:01 AM
 
I agree. Especially since Intel keeps the same numbering not only across chips with different TDPs, different number of cpu cores and different clockspeeds, no, they also keep it across generations. My 2010 MacBook Pro also has a 2.4 GHz Core i5. If I hadn't told anyone the generation and my machine, it'd mean almost nothing
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Jun 19, 2013, 09:28 AM
 
The first digit is the generation, so 4 is Haswell. The last is the "other" digit, showing power consumption modifications etc that is not covered in the other digits. The two central numbers are the important ones, designating core count and clockspeed, but not in anything remotely resembling logical fashion. Back when they started with this scheme, it was all nice and logical, but now I think they're just messing with us. Bigger is better, that's about as far as the logic goes. The letter at the end, finally, mostly designates power consumption. Quick, place these letters in order of TDP: U, Y, S, T, P, X, L and W. That's ignoring the regular M (for mobile), Q (for quadcore, but it's not always there on the quads, oh no - only on the mobile quads these days, for some reason), H (for better graphics?) and R (for....you know, I'm not even sure any more. BGA mount but with TDP like a desktop chip, I think).

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The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jun 19, 2013, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
The first digit is the generation, so 4 is Haswell. The last is the "other" digit, showing power consumption modifications etc that is not covered in the other digits. The two central numbers are the important ones, designating core count and clockspeed, but not in anything remotely resembling logical fashion. Back when they started with this scheme, it was all nice and logical, but now I think they're just messing with us. Bigger is better, that's about as far as the logic goes. The letter at the end, finally, mostly designates power consumption. Quick, place these letters in order of TDP: U, Y, S, T, P, X, L and W. That's ignoring the regular M (for mobile), Q (for quadcore, but it's not always there on the quads, oh no - only on the mobile quads these days, for some reason), H (for better graphics?) and R (for....you know, I'm not even sure any more. BGA mount but with TDP like a desktop chip, I think).

Where's the exploding head smiley when you need it?
     
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Jun 19, 2013, 11:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
[Chinese poetry]

Where's the exploding head smiley when you need it?
It's as if Intel wants to make spec-based advertising obsolete.

Just giving the frequencies of Intel processors these days is complicated: base, mc turbo, sc turbo, graphics core min/max. And then you can limit the TDP if you want -- which influences how long you can turbo cores and such.

I need that exploding head smiley now
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Jun 23, 2013, 10:07 PM
 
I still can't believe what an increase in battery life Haswell has brought, specially to the MacBook Air lineup. 12 hours is just awesome. I want!
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Jun 25, 2013, 06:26 PM
 
The increase in battery life (and graphics performance on some chips) is basically all Haswell brings. It's a big disappointment on the desktop, 10% faster after a year.
     
   
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