Ding, Ding, Ding….In this corner the new Intel Haswell 4th generation processor, the contender. And in this corner the new 5th generation Ivy Bridge E and current champ.
October 2013 - In June of this year, Intel released the Haswell processor series dubbed 4th generation. However, Haswell is still no match for Intel’s current top of the line 5th generation Ivy Bridge E.
The new Haswell desktop processor series is being offered as a "middle of the road" series CPU compared to Ivy Bridge E which is considered in the top of the line series for power users. If you want wide open maximum processing power, the Ivy Bridge E series is the right choice.
If you are only have 1 or 2 displays and an average computer user then Haswell may be a better choice for you if you are willing to sacrifice speed for size. Haswell is designed more for average desktop computing and smaller, portable electronics more so than full sized fully powerful desktop computing.
The new Intel Ivy Bridge E 4800/4900 series processors are Intel's top end CPUs and certainly the fastest processors available to date. In an effort to gain traction in the smaller, handheld and portable market Intel releases Haswell.
Intel is in the midst of a very surprising technological paradigm shift away from full size desktop motherboards and marketing efforts are leaning toward what they are dubbing NUC (Next Unit of Computing). Simply put, they are focusing on smaller portable devices like tablets and micro sized computers. Haswell is the first official processor rollout towards this objective. Intel will continue to make high end full size processors for the foreseeable future.
Head to Head Comparison
To provide a truly honest test, we will compare the very FASTEST Haswell desktop processor available as of this writing against the SLOWEST Ivy Bridge E series.
||Ivy Bridge E i7 4820
|Core Speed: 3.1--3.9Ghz
||Core Speed: 3.7--3.9 Ghz
|Memory Type: DUAL channel
||Memory Type: QUAD channel
|Max memory = 32g
||Max memory = 64G
|PCI Express Lanes = 16
||PCI Express Lanes = 40
|NOTE: This is the FASTEST Haswell processor as of Jun 2013).
||NOTE: This is the LOWEST end Ivy Bridge E and it is still faster than the highest end Haswell. There are 3 faster Ivy Bridge processors above this one!)
Intel's i7 Series has a built-in memory controller on the processor which works in conjunction with the onboard system memory. The new Haswell series only supports dual channel memory compared to Ivy Bridge E quad channel, which is twice as fast.
Cache is King
For serious multitasking memory cache is critically important in a processor. A processor with only 8mg cache will not cut it for power users in our view. The Ivy Bridge E has an impressive 10-15mg of memory cache, the highest available in any processor to date. If you work on a multiple display computer system with 3 or more monitors, "cache is king" so don't cut yourself short. Stay with Ivy Bridge E series for higher end machines such as trading computer, video surveillance or control rooms.
Maximum Addressable Memory
As mentioned the i7 processors have a built in memory controller. The Haswell has a maximum useable memory allocation of only 32G compared to Ivy Bridge at 64G.This means if you have a Haswell processor and have 64g of memory it will only be able to utilize half of that memory. With an Ivy Bridge E and up to 64g of memory it will all be utilized with this processor.
PCI Express Lanes
As you can see the max PCI express lanes on the Haswell is only 16 vs 40 on the Ivy Bridge E. What does this mean? On a computer with 1 or 2 displays it may not mean much however, a computer with 3-12 displays and multiple video cards it means everything.
To use an analogy, think of PCI Express "lanes" on a processor like lanes of traffic on the video highway in a computer. Naturally A highway with 16 lanes will allow the video to move 16 times faster than a single lane x1 highway. The more lanes, the faster your video will travel it is that simple.
A single PCI Express x16 video card will use all 16 lanes on a Haswell processor. Add a second card and your video will be in a traffic jam waiting for lanes to open up. With the Ivy Bridge E it has 40 lanes to work with so adding 2 or even 3 video cards are no problem and not video traffic jams!
Read more on PCI Express
The Bottom Line
If you are an "average" computer user and more geared up for portable devices such as laptops and handhelds then the Haswell series is truly an advancement in microprocessing. If you have a laptop with a Haswell processor you will see more speed, longer battery life and less heat. The same goes for tablets and other smaller devices that may be powered by Haswell.
If are a "power user" and serious multitasker you need all of the processing power you can get your hands on. The Ivy Bridge E Series is the best processor choice for you. Ivy Bridge E remains the fastest processors available to date as of this writing. This is particularly the case with stock traders, surveillance companies and control rooms who use from 3 up to 12 displays with a single system. This is much more than a Haswell processor would ever be able to handle under a load.
The winner and undisputed champ in full size desktop processors, Ivy Bridge E Series i7!
Also see Haswell vs Sandy Bridge technical specs
QuadStation Multiple Monitor Computers
Intel Ivy Bridge E Processors, 2-12 Displays, Windows 7 and Rock Solid.