Haswell Microarchitecture & Z87 Chipset
The big thing that you have probably heard about Haswell processors is that they use less power. This was a big focus of Intel, especially in the portable in mobile segment. As many more people are using mobile devices battery life becomes a concern. Low power was also translated to the Desktop side of things as the new Haswell Desktop processors have integrated voltage regulators (iVR) directly on the CPU. This allows Intel to regulate power to a much finer degree and takes a lot of power control out of the motherboards hands. This makes it so Intel could introduce its new low power states that I’m sure you’ve been hearing about.
Besides that change things do look very similar to what we have seen in the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.
As I said Haswell brings with it a new chipset. The Z87 chipset brings with it some new improvements if we take a look at the block diagram below.
Intel has gone ahead and increased the USB 3.0 ports from 4 to 6 and the USB 2.0 ports from 10 to 14. If you remember with Ivy Bridge you had a total of six SATA ports with only 2 of them being SATA 6GB/s. With the Z87 chipset all six ports are SATA 6GB/s so no trying to figure out what ports you need to plug your SATA 6GB/s SSDs into.
Many people will be disappointed to know that the PCI Express lanes are the same as on the Z77 chipset. So you have 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes and 8 PCI Express 2.0 lanes.