The Lineup: Quad-Core Only for Now

Very telling of how times have changed is that today's Ivy Bridge launch only comes with a single Extreme Edition processor—the Core i7-3920XM, a mobile part. There are some great enthusiast desktop parts of course, but as with Sandy Bridge the desktop Extreme Edition is reserved for another platform. In this case, we're talking about LGA-2011 which won't launch in an Ivy flavor until the end of this year/early next year at this point.


From left to right: Clarkdale, Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge E

Contrary to everything I've been saying thus far however is the nature of the launch: only quad-core parts will be available first. The dual-core, and more importantly for Ivy Bridge, the ultra low voltage parts won't come until May/June. That means the bigger notebooks and naturally the performance desktops will arrive first, followed by the ultraportables, Ultrabooks and more affordable desktops. This strategy makes sense as the volumes for expensive quad-core notebooks and performance desktops in general are lower than cheaper dual-core notebooks/desktops. From what I've heard, the move to 22nm has been the most challenging transition Intel's fab teams have ever faced, which obviously constrains initial supplies.

Intel 2012 CPU Lineup (Standard Power)
Processor Core Clock Cores / Threads L3 Cache Max Turbo Intel HD Graphics TDP Price
Intel Core i7 3960X 3.3GHz 6 / 12 15MB 3.9GHz N/A 130W $999
Intel Core i7 3930K 3.2GHz 6 / 12 12MB 3.8GHz N/A 130W $583
Intel Core i7 3820 3.6GHz 4 / 8 10MB 3.9GHz N/A 130W $294
Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.9GHz 4000 77W $313
Intel Core i7 3770 3.4GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.9GHz 4000 77W $278
Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.8GHz 4000 77W $212
Intel Core i5 3550 3.3GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.7GHz 2500 77W $194
Intel Core i5 3450 3.1GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.5GHz 2500 77W $174
Intel Core i7 2700K 3.5GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.9GHz 3000 95W $332
Intel Core i5 2550K 3.4GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.8GHz N/A 95W $225
Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.7GHz 2000 95W $205
Intel Core i5 2400 3.1GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.4GHz 2000 95W $195
Intel Core i5 2320 3.0GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.3GHz 2000 95W $177

There are five 77W desktop parts launching today, three 65W parts and one 45W part. The latter four are either T or S SKUs (lower leakage, lower TDP and lower clocked parts), while the first five are traditional, standard power parts. Note that max TDP for Ivy Bridge on the desktop has been reduced from 95W down to 77W thanks to Intel's 22nm process. The power savings do roughly follow that 18W decrease in TDP. Despite the power reduction, you may see 95W labels on boxes and OEMs are still asked to design for 95W as Ivy Bridge platforms can accept both 77W IVB and 95W Sandy Bridge parts.

We've already gone through Ivy's architecture in detail so check out our feature here for more details if you haven't already.

Intel 2012 Additional CPU Features (Standard Power)
Processor GPU Clock (base) GPU Clock (max) PCIe 3.0 Intel SIPP Intel vPro Intel VT-d Intel TXT
Intel Core i7 3770K 650MHz 1150MHz Yes No No No No
Intel Core i7 3770 650MHz 1150MHz Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Core i5 3570K 650MHz 1150MHz Yes No No No No
Intel Core i5 3550 650MHz 1150MHz Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Core i5 3450 650MHz 1100MHz Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

The successful K-series SKUs are front and center in the Ivy lineup. As you'll remember from Sandy Bridge, anything with a K suffix ships fully unlocked. Ivy Bridge K-series SKUs support multipliers of up to 63x, an increase from the 57x maximum on Sandy Bridge. This won't impact most users unless you're doing any exotic cooling however.

If you don't have a K in your product name then your part is either partially or fully locked. Although this doesn't apply to any of the CPUs launching today, Ivy Bridge chips without support for turbo are fully locked and cannot be overclocked.

If your chip does support turbo boost, then you can overclock via increasing turbo ratios by as much as 4 bins above their standard setting. For example, the Core i7 3550 has a max turbo frequency of 3.7GHz with a single core active. Add another four bins (4 x 100MHz) and you get a maximum overclock of 4.1GHz, with one core active. The other turbo ratios can also be increased by up to four bins.

Sandy Bridge vs. Ivy Bridge Pricing
Sandy Bridge Price Price Ivy Bridge
Core i7 2700K $332 $313 Core i7 3770K
Core i7 2600 $294 $278 Core i7 3770
Core i5 2550K $225 $212 Core i5 3750K
Core i5 2500 $205 $194 Core i5 3550
Core i5 2400 $184 $174 Core i5 3450

The 3770K is the new king of the hill and it comes in $19 cheaper than the hill's previous resident: the Core i7 2700K. The non-K version saves you $16 compared to Sandy Bridge. The deltas continue down the line ranging ranging from $10—$19.

Unlike the Sandy Bridge launch, Intel is offering its high-end GPU on more than just K-series desktop parts right away. It is also differentiating K from non-K by adding another 100MHz to the base clock for K series parts. While the Core i7 2600K and Core i7 2600 both ran at 3.3GHz, the 3770 runs at 3.4GHz compared to the 3770K's 3.5GHz. It's a small difference but one that Intel hopes will help justify the added cost of the K.

Classic feature segmentation is alive and well with Ivy Bridge. In the quad-core lineup, only Core i7s get Hyper Threading—Core i5s do not. When the dual-core Core i3s show up in the coming months they will once again do so without support for turbo boost. Features like VT-d and Intel TXT are once again reserved for regular, non-K-series parts alone.

 

Introduction Die Size and Transistor Count
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  • dagamer34 - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    I see them just killing off the 13" MacBook Pro entirely, and upgrading the SSD base size to 256GB. There's little reason for the Pro to live on anymore when the Air is far superior in everything except for CPU. Reply
  • gorash - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Really... the Air's screen is terrible. Plus Air is basically not user upgradeable. Reply
  • Breach1337 - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I view mine as a consumable. And I love it. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    That would be a shame, even without the optical drive they could differentiate the 13" pro from the Air with the mentioned 35w quad core CPU, or a discreet GPU in all the space they saved from ditching the ODD, and have more space for battery to offset it. Reply
  • jaydee - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    If I'm buying a system for onboard GPU gaming, I'm going AMD. If I'm buying a system for cpu performance with overclocking, I'm buying Sandy Bridge. I'm not sure what the point of this launch is. Reply
  • A5 - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Notebooks/ultrabooks and debugging the new process node. Reply
  • 8steve8 - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    I've seen so many negative comments like this about Ivy Bridge all over the web... so I'll respond to them all here:

    I'd rather have higher energy efficiency and stability (and less noise), which comes with running at stock voltage/clock speeds. I am not alone there... Plus with turbo boost, why bother OCing, when it has the thermal headroom, it boosts the clock...

    If you think that you can find a significantly better sweat spot of performance, power consumption, and reliability/lifespan of the average high-end (K) CPU from intel, then I have to call BS on that. If you agree that intel knows their cpus better than you, but are purposely under-clocking them (the highest clocked models), then I would ask why.

    I may say that given significantly more exotic/larger/louder coolers, maybe you can dissipate more heat than the processors were designed to dissipate, and you have some headroom to raise the voltage, which may yield higher stable frequencies, but keep in mind power is roughly proportional to voltage^2, so energy efficiency goes out the window real fast...

    I'm not saying no one should play around with their CPUs, have fun... but to say ivy bridge is pointless just because you can't over-volt/over-clock it to the same extent as sandy bridge is foolish when it's clearly a significant step forward, and the best solution for the vast majority x86 PCs.

    For those of us who want an energy efficient, high performance computer, some variant of ivy bridge will be the best option, probably until haswell/2013.

    Thanks intel, and thanks Anand for the review.
    Reply
  • jaydee - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    But it's really not that much more efficient. In fact at idle, the difference is negligible by all benchmarks I've seen, which for most users is the most important area. At full power, a difference of 25 watts is practically nothing given how much time most cpu's are spent at that load. It really shouldn't affect power supply sizing either. I'm just talking about desktop usage here, we don't really have a good look at the notebook chips yet.

    I'm not sure what Intel thinks it's pulling by calling this "tick+" instead of a regular "tick". I don't see anything here that's really that appealing. If helps Intel "debug the process node for 22nm", that's great for Intel, but it doesn't sway me as a consumer to buy one.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Idle power quickly hits a limit based on everything else in the system. It's hardly surprising that the highly efficient Sandy Bridge does just as well at idle as Ivy Bridge. Power gating allows Intel to basically shut down everything that's not being used, and the result is that low loads have pretty much hit their limits. What's impressive is the big drop in power use under heavier loads.

    As for the "tick+", it's all in the GPU. They went from DX10 12EU in SNB to DX11 and 16EU in IVB. As a percentage of total die size, the GPU in IVB is much larger than the one in SNB. But as Anand notes, we still would have liked more (e.g. a 24 EU GT3 would have been awesome for IGP performance).
    Reply
  • owan - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Marginal improvement over Sandy Bridge that can be compensated for by SB's significantly better overclocking ability. Why so much praise for the IGP when 95% of desktop users don't care AND its still vastly inferior to Llano? With so much focus on mobile I'm not even sure why they bothered releasing a high-end desktop SKU Reply

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