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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  • dgingeri - Monday, May 09, 2011 - link

    "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."

    Yeah, I believe it when I see it. They said the same thing with the 915/925 chipsets, but when it came down to it, they changed the VRM requirements and controls and a new motherboard was required for Core 2 chips anyway. I bet they do the same thing.

    On the other side of the fence, I have a Nvidia Nforce 590SLi board (socket AM2) that supports even the newest 6 core chips with only a bios upgrade, if I want to replace it. I recently upgraded it from the Athlon 64 6400+ chip (3.2GHz with no overclocking potential and 125W power consumption) to a Athlon II X2 260 (3.2GHz, overclockable to 3.7GHz, and only 65W power usage) for $70. It doesn't sound like an upgrade, but the power savings alone will pay for it in less than 6 months, considering its my file server.

    Intel does have a big history of making people upgrade an entire platform to upgrade. I don't expect them to change that.
    Reply
  • Kakkoii - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    You guys are under NDA about Z68 until next week, yet there's already a bunch of information available on computer parts websites for Z68 motherboard pre-orders XD

    http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=61757&vpn=GA...

    Kinda funny..
    Reply
  • Kakkoii - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    I probably should have looked at AnandTech's Motherboard section before posting this comment. lol. Reply
  • karl96 - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    appart from what i have seen looks it nice but why does nt intel take out the integrate hd graphics in 3 type of processors and make them hexacore with hyperthreating. i mean sb is extremely powerfull and ivy bridge wil be more powerfull and more efficient. and for me it does not make that much sense such powerull procesoors and igpu? Reply

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