Leaked slide hints at Haswell upgrade path

More details are leaking out on Haswell, Intel's next-next-gen CPU. The chip will succeed Ivy Bridge and is due out in the first half of 2013. In addition to sporting CPU cores based on a new microarchitecture, Haswell will feature a substantially upgraded GPU. An official-looking presentation slide posted by Turkish site Donanim Haber claims Haswell's graphics will support DirectX 11.1 and OpenCL 1.2. DirectX 11.1 will be included with Windows 8, while the latest OpenCL specification was released late last year.

Much of the information on the slide has already been churned out by the rumor mill. Haswell will purportedly have integrated PCI Express 3.0 connectivity, its integrated GPU will have a trio of digital display outputs, and the accompanying Lynx Point chipset will offer third-gen USB and Serial ATA ports. The CPU will slide into an 1150-pin LGA socket, and it looks like that socket will offer an upgrade path to Haswell successors released in 2014. The slide specifically mentions "2013/2014 platform compatibility."

Rolling out new processors with the same pin count as the old ones doesn't guarantee motherboard compatibility. Voltage standards can change, and older mobos aren't always capable of properly delivering power to new CPUs. It would be nice if Intel worked things out with motherboard makers ahead of time to endure Haswell's replacement will work in all Lynx Point motherboards.

As an aside, this is the second time we've seen desktop versions of Haswell listed with thermal envelopes as high as 95W. That matches the TDP of the fastest Sandy Bridge CPUs, but rumors have pointed to a 77W maximum TDP for desktop Ivy Bridge chips. Haswell is very much focused on lower power consumption for notebooks, so it seems odd that desktop variants would require additional thermal headroom—unless Intel has more CPU cores and some seriously potent graphics horsepower up its sleeve.

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