If Haswell's debut on the desktop has left you feeling a bit flat, the company's mobile efforts may be the pick-me-up you've been hoping for. If you step back and think about the entire CPU market, the last two years have been marked by tremendous shifts in consumer buying habits, as tablet sales skyrocketed and desktop/laptop sales have slumped. Intel recognized years ago that Atom, no matter how polished, would never be able to address the entire portable market -- the usage scenarios between a laptop and a smartphone are just too wide. The company therefore decided to take a two-pronged approach to this brave new frontier of computing, with a new Atom architecture anchoring the ultra-low power segments while more traditional x86 cores were prepped for form factors no one at Intel dreamed of ten years ago.
Some of the reasons Haswell is less exciting on the desktop, in other words, is because Intel prioritized a mobile architecture that would draw as little power as possible, while still offering excellent performance..