Intel Haswell early bird pic

An early pic of an alleged qualification sample Haswell CPU has made it to the internet, according to a Slovak website.

According to information published on OBR Hardware the Haswell chip is not only much larger than the upcoming Ivy Bridge, it also has a GPU area twice as large as the one on Ivy Bridge, which on the other hand Intel is promising to be 30 percent higher than current Sandy Bridge CPUs. Qualification Sampling is the last step before mass production of a CPU to production.

OBR Hardware suggests the Ivy Bridge die is 162mm2 while Haswell comes in at 185mm2 (however, we’ve seen actual measurements of 172mm2 for the Ivy Bridge), so looking at the photo we can guesstimate the it is a rather accurate measurement.

The Ivy Bridge core is also estimated to pack 1.4 billion transistors, which doing some rough maths, would put the Haswell chip at 1.5 billion or so. The photo also shows off densely packed cache on the top of the package, instead of the bottom, which can indicate that Intel is piling on a lot more cache for performance and/or simply rejigging the pinouts on the bottom once more.

Ivy Bridge, as you may recall, will be the first CPU to feature FinFET (or ‘3D’) transistors, the 22nm die shrink from Sandy Bridge.  It has also been confirmed that Intel has been volume manufacturing Ivy Bridge since late 2011, so 22nm manufacturing is taking place as we speak, readying the CPUs for the April release. Haswell, on the other hand should be a new architecture, although our Slovak colleagues do consider it to be a ‘core-tweaked Sandy Bridge on steroids’.