Is A Turnaround Brewing With Intel Corporation (INTC)’s Haswell?

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Intel CorporationSpeaking with Siliconrepublic.comIntel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)‘s  chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, predicted that Intel’s forthcoming energy-efficient Haswell processors will revive the demand for PC devices, such as Ultrabooks and hybrids. Rattner also opined that tablets are having a disruptive effect on PC sales, and with Haswell, that’s going to stop. He believes that with the availability of powerful, light and energy-efficient PCs based on Haswell microarchitecture later this year, the PC industry will stage a turnaround.

This article will analyze Haswell’s potential to make a positive impact on eroding PC sales, particularly when Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s financial results have been battered due to a shrinking PC market.

Intel launches Haswell in June

Intel plans to launch its much-awaited Haswell microarchitecture on June 3 at the Comdex 2013 show in Taiwan. It will be launched in three major forms:

  1. Desktop version
  2. Mobile/Laptop version
  3. BGA version

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s prediction is that its PC and data center units will see an increasing demand for its processors by the end this year. Microsoft’s Windows 8 enabling touch will help a PC comeback. An Ultrabook with a detachable keyboard and Windows 8 preloaded will be way more appealing than a so-called tablet. And it will be way more efficient as well. During the latest earnings call, Intel CFO Stacy Smith said:

I think that as the OEMs start looking at new form factors that they can design around our new chips (Haswell in particular and maybe Bay Trail) and Windows 8 enabling touch, the explosion and form factors and competitiveness of that platform is going to be substantially different at price points down into the [$300] or $400 range enabling touch. We didn’t have that last year. So you go into the prime selling season with new products, new technologies, new form factors, and new capabilities that up to now [had] unapproachable price points.

Haswell is a “tock” in Intel’s tick-tock cadence. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s fourth Generation Core 22-nm processors based on Haswell will have 22-nm Tri-Gate ‘3D’ transistors. Intel’s 22-nm FinFET SoC process will ensure that customers will get huge performance boost. Haswell will incorporate four cores in the SoC. Haswell’s on-die GPU will support DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2, and OpenCL 1.2 for advanced graphics performance on PCs.

How does AMD’s hUMA stack up against Haswell

Based on hUMA (heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) plans to launch its first processor, codenamed Kaveri, using Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD)’s Steamroller cores with a GPU. Kaveri could emerge as a stiff competitor for Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s Haswell, particularly for playing games on PCs.

AMD has also won its place inside the latest versions of gaming consoles, namely Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Xbox One and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s PS4 with its 8 Jaguar cores. But, experts believe that with the advent of mobile gaming and free internet games on PCs, high-end console-based games may lose steam going forward.

However, it remains to be seen how Haswell performs against Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD)’s Kaveri in graphics-intensive applications like games on PCs.

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