The next generation of Intel's Core processor chips is set to be unveiled at next week's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, aimed at delivering lighter, more capable PCs better able to compete against media tablets such as Apple's iPad.
IDF is Intel's showcase for its latest technologies, and the headline topic this time around is set to be the Haswell architecture, the follow-on to Intel's current Ivy Bridge chips introduced earlier this year.
While Intel is set to announce Haswell as the fourth generation of its Core processors, the chips themselves are not expected to be generally available until early next year, when they will drive new Windows 8 devices.
However, Intel already claims that there are approximately 40 touch-enabled ultrabook systems being readied for the Windows 8 launch.
As is the case with each new generation, Haswell chips are slated to offer improved performance and graphics capabilities, while also cutting power consumption in the continuing quest for lighter ultrabook and tablet systems that can deliver all-day battery life.
Haswell represents a "tock" in Intel's "tick-tock" development model, meaning that it introduces a new microarchitecture onto the existing 22nm manufacturing process used in Ivy Bridge.
New features are expected to include a faster on-chip graphics controller, an enhanced version of the Advanced Vector Extension (AVX) instructions which accelerate multimedia handling, plus new instructions known as Intel Transactional Synchronisation Extensions (TSX) to provide transactional memory support for multi-threaded applications.
Other topics set to be on the agenda at IDF include greater use of sensor devices in computers, to enable better interaction with users via gestures, facial recognition and voice processing, for example.
Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner is also billed to discuss the future of wireless connectivity during his keynote.
That is likely to including the concept of adaptable radio technology that can be reconfigured to connect to almost any wireless network, which has been a recurring theme at IDF.
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