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.

Panther Point Chipsets
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  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thunderbolt is dumb. Many systems get 1 port. That gets used when you plug in your display via DisplayPort, and there it goes completely unused! Even if you have a spare port and find something to plug into it, it won't be any faster than USB3 would be. So what's the point?

    I think Apple wanted it since it was "cool, light!" for their marketing, and then engineering common-sense managed to win, since metal wires are cheaper. Intel likes it since they get to sell boatloads of Intel-only controllers. USB3 makes more sense in many ways.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    Thunderbolt supports daisy-chaining so you can connect up to 7 devices into one port. I'm pretty sure most of the TB devices will support DC when they start rolling out. Plus, you can always get a hub if you have devices that don't support.

    Moreover, there are currently two computers from Apple that have TB so you can't conclude that most systems in the future will be stuck with one port. The 27" already has two BTW.
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Can someone answer these questions for me? would appreciate it.

    Will X79 support Ivy Bridge CPU's?
    And if so... then will Ivy Bridge CPU's be available for X79 at around the same time as IB CPU's for the lower platforms or will the high end be left out again?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    No. X79 will be for Sandy Bridge-E, which uses socket LGA2011. There's a schism between the ultra-high-end enthusiast platforms and the "mainstream enthusiast" platforms, which is a continuation of the X58 and P55 split. The problem is that where X58 was clearly superior to P55 platforms in most performance metrics, X58 vs. P67 suddenly didn't look so compelling. We'll eventually get the "fix" for that in Q3/Q4 when SNB-E launches, but just like X58 vs. P67 we'll have X79 vs. Z77 in 1H'2012 to make things difficult. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks Jarred.
    So the X79 platform will have no CPU upgrade path at all? It will ONLY ever take SNB-E CPU's? Being as Ivy Bridge is just a "tick" and not a new architecture i would have thought X79 would get a IB CPU for LGA2011 that just needs a BIOS update.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    IIRC some of the leaked intel roadmaps have IB based LGA2011 chips coming out in late 2012, about a year after the SB ones. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I'd still be wary of the crap that Intel did to us 1366 users. Promising an 'affordable' 6 core upgrade, but never releasing a chip coming even close to $500. That's what happens when AMD can't compete. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Well, there is i7-970 at 583$ but yeah, I have to agree with you. Sandy Bridge runs circles around Gulftown and is much cheaper. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Isn't that a fairly recent price drop? IIRC before SB launched the only hexes they offered were in the $900ish range. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Yeah, i7-970 was 880$ when it was launched in July last year (before that there was only 999$ 980X). It was dropped to 583$ when i7-990X was launched in February IIRC. Reply

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