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Intel Corporation (INTC): What Is Haswell?

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Intel CorporationThere’s a lot of doom and gloom around the PC industry these days with many suggesting that PC’s are a dying breed as the future is expected to be dominated by mobile computing. The latest data supports the bearish view on PCs; the latest report from IDC revealed that worldwide PC shipments declined 14% year-on-year, posting the steepest decline ever. The death of the PC stick is often used to beat down semiconductor giant Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), a stalwart of the industry. However, with the introduction of its new processor, Haswell, on June 3, Intel hopes bring PCs back from the dead this summer.

What is Haswell?

Haswell is the name for Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s latest and greatest processor. In light of Intel’s ‘tick-tock’ model, Haswell is the ‘tock’ which means that the processor features new microarchitecture, but is based on the same 22nm technology process as its predecessor, the Ivy Bridge. In layman’s terms, what this means is that thanks to the new microarchitecture, Haswell is remarkably better than its predecessor in three ways:

– It offers better performance in terms of more processing power

– It features an enhanced, integrated GPU

– It is highly power efficient

How will PCs come back to life?

In addition to the shift towards tablets, other reasons for the sluggishness in the PC market include a poor macroeconomic environment combined with a lack of availability of compelling products, which reduces the incentive to upgrade existing PCs for corporate and non-corporate consumers. Haswell represents one of Intel’s most significant processor upgrades in years, and will entice consumers to upgrade their laptop and notebook PCs by offering outstanding processing power and GPU performance, while at the same time giving users significantly improved battery life on their laptops and ultrabooks.

Due to its power efficiency, Haswell will enable OEMs to design slim and thinner form factor devices at affordable prices, and is expected to give a big boost to the ultrabook lineup thanks to its outstanding power efficiency. On the Q1 earnings call, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s outgoing CEO Paul Otellini told investors that by the time the holiday season arrives, consumers would be able to purchase high performance, touch enabled ultrabooks at compelling, mainstream price points of around $499-$599, which should also drive PC demand. Otellini said that an improving global economy would give an additional boost to  Haswell-based PCs in the second half of the year.

An bbvious beneficiary

The other major name in PC industry, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), is also expected to benefit from the increased PC demand driven by Haswell. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has also been blamed for exacerbating the recent slump in the PC industry as its Windows 8 failed to live up to expectations. Microsoft’s latest OS was designed with touchscreens and tablets in mind, but has got a lukewarm response from PC users so far due to its steep learning curve over Windows 7.

A new report from the Financial Times claims that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has realized that it got it wrong with Windows 8 and will release an update later that includes changes that will make it easier for PC users to adapt to the new OS. An update to Windows 8, the upcoming Haswell processor, and the expected price cuts to Windows latest OS are all good signs for the revival of the PC industry that should benefit both Intel and Microsoft in the second half of the year and beyond.

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