Last week, we told you about Sandy Bridge-E and X79 chipset. Today, we have a lot of interesting news about other Intel products, including a look at the Ivy Bridge platform and upcoming SSDs. Intel still isn’t taking the wraps off of their Ivy Bridge architecture, but yesterday’s 3D Tri-Gate announcement certainly changes the expectations.

Ivy Bridge

Ivy Bridge will be a die shrink of Sandy Bridge and represents a “tick” in  Intel’s product line. That means the micro-architecture is mostly the same as Sandy Bridge, but it will be manufactured using 22nm process instead of 32nm. That will bring lower power consumption and thus less heat while keeping the same performance level. Unfortunately, we don’t have any information on core counts, clock speeds, model numbers, cache sizes, or the IGP. At the same core counts as SNB, we might see some fairly high clock speeds (>4GHz, anyone?) since current quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs already offer Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, and adding additional cache to the design is almost a given. Intel is putting additional resources into their IGP as well, so we expect to see some healthy performance and capability improvements.

Sandy Bridge versus Ivy Bridge
  Sandy Bridge Ivy Bridge
Manufacturing process 32nm 22nm
Transistor technology 2D (Planar) 3D (Tri-Gate)
PCI-Express (version) 16 lanes (2.0) 16 lanes (3.0)
Turbo Boost version 2.0 2.0
Memory support Up to DDR3-1333 Up to DDR3-1600
Quick Sync 1.0 2.0 (?)
DirectX 10.1 11
IGP shader count Up to 12 EUs Up to 16 EUs (?)
OpenGL 3.0 3.1 (?)
OpenCL N/A 1.1 (?)

The table above summarizes most of the currently known differences. Ivy Bridge will have enhanced AVX support, the on-die PCI-Express graphics links become version 3.0 instead of SNB’s 2.0, and official memory speed support from the IMC gets bumped to DDR3-1600. While we won’t know about the power consumption until we actually get to test an IB CPU, the roadmap lists TDPs that are the same as SNB (95W, 65W, 45W, 35W). The shrink to 22nm and 3D transistors (FinFET) almost represents a two-node process technology jump, so we expect performance at various power levels to increase quite a bit. A final interesting point for many users is that Ivy Bridge is pin compatible with Sandy Bridge, and it will work on current LGA1155 motherboards with the appropriate chipset and a firmware and BIOS update (H61, H67, P67, and Z68 are capable of support IB). Intel will also launch new 7-series chipsets, which we’ll get into below.

Wrapping up the discussion of improvements, let’s focus on the IGP a bit more. As with Sandy Bridge, we expect Intel will have several IGP variants with Ivy Bridge’s graphics. We don’t know what they will be, but we do know that Intel is calling it their “next Gen Intel HD Graphics” and the core GPU will be DX11 capable. It also looks like Intel will add OpenCL 1.1 support and increase the maximum number of EUs from 12 to 16, though either of those elements may change. Intel lists “Next Gen Quick Sync” as another feature, and with the increase in EU count and additional functionality Ivy Bridge might be double the speed of SNB when it comes to transcoding video.

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  • fic2 - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I think Intel GPUs get pretty much the respect they deserve. As long as they keep crippling the mainstream parts by putting in crap like HD2000 they don't deserve any respect. The only decent GPU they have is the HD3000 in the 'k' series which will never be used by the people that buy 'k' series parts (ok, 1% might). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Yeah, but all of the mobile chips pretty much get HD 3000, and they're the place you're more likely to use the IGP. Maybe Ivy Bridge will be better in this respect; guess we'll wait and see. Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Sunday, May 08, 2011 - link

    Actually in that case it will be 1.33*1.33*1.33=2.35 times faster. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    Oh if only math worked that way in real life. :) Reply
  • Conficio - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Kristian,
    thanks for an article full of details. However, I find this article harder to read than necessary. Because it is peppered with abbreviations that I'm not familiar with. They might be daily use for an Intel enthisiast but they have not yet reached the mainstream.

    May I suggest AnandTech adds to their awesome Benches a Glossary and links the first use (in an article) of any name or abreviation to a short definition page with a list of serach results for the term (good Google juice if you knwo what I mean). That would make it so much easier to brush up on a term the reader is not familiar with.

    Alternatively (or in addition) spell out the names of technologies with appreviations at theri first use, such as S... R... T ... (SRT) so that one can form a mental word for the appreviation and better understand what is said.

    That said, keep up the good work. One wants to read these articles and understand in detail as opposed to skimming just for buzz words and chatter (slashdot I'm looking at you).

    P.S.: The formatting of tables, etc. often does not scale with enlarging the font, but that is for another post.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm still learning and sometimes it's just hard to use the full name instead of the abbreviation, mainly because in the forums I go everyone uses abbreviations.

    While I don't want to blame Jarred for this, in the original version at least the SRT was first mentioned as Smart Response Technology (SRT) so people get the idea of what the SRT means. In the original version, there is also info on the Z68 and SRT in general but due to the NDA, we couldn't publish it so that might have added confusion since some parts of the other areas of the article referred to that.

    If you really want to be helpful, send me an email (click my name above the article) and give me more examples of the cases where you wish that the abbreviation should be explained more clearly :-)
    Reply
  • HilbertSpace - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I also did a google search for "Intel SRT" (didn't know what it was) and got to Intel's site that talks about "System Recovery Technology" - same acronym two different things... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Just to clarify, we are under NDA on Smart Response Technology until Z68 launches, at which point Anand will have a full explanation as well as performance results. That also takes care of the Larsen Creek SSD, so I'm as interested as the next guy to see what it will do for performance. Basically, I had to cut a whole page from the review where Kristian discussed SRT and Z68 features, but we'll have the official launch soon enough to fill in the gaps. :-) Reply
  • Conficio - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    This roadmap screams to me that Intel does not support Thunderbolt for non Apple systems.

    I'd have expected the next set of chipsets to support it for display and other purposes. Instead we see USB 3.0 accross teh board. Not that that is bad, but the lack of Thunderbolt in all of 6 new chipsets is really sendign a message (It's Apple only technology) despite all the statements otherwise.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thunderboilt is just a combination displayport/PCIe lane in a single plug. I don't see any reason why it would need special chipset support. Reply

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