Cache, Memory Controller & Overclocking Changes

Despite the title of this section, to my knowledge there haven't been any changes to Ivy Bridge's cache. The last level cache (L3) is still shared via a ring bus between all cores, the GPU and the system agent. Quad-core Ivy Bridge CPUs will support up to 8MB of L3 cache, and the private L1/L2s haven't increased from their sizes in Sandy Bridge (32+32K/256K).

The memory controller also remains relatively unchanged, aside from some additional flexibility. Mobile IVB supports DDR3L in addition to DDR3, enabling 1.35V memory instead of the standard 1.5V DDR3. This is particularly useful in notebooks that have on-board DDR3 on the underside of the notebook; OEMs can use DDR3L and keep your lap a bit cooler.

From Nehalem to Sandy Bridge, Intel introduced fairly healthy amounts of power gating throughout the processor. With little more to address in Ivy Bridge, Intel power gated one of the last available portions of the die: the DDR3 interface. If there's no external memory activity, the DDR3 interface can now be turned off completely. External IOs leak current like any other transistor so this change makes sense. Power gating simply increases die size but at 22nm Intel should have some extra area to spend on things like this.

Memory overclocking also gets a bump in Ivy Bridge. The max supported DDR3 frequency in SNB was 2133MHz, Ivy Bridge moves this up to 2800MHz. You can now also increase memory frequency in 200MHz increments.

Core Architecture Changes Power Efficiency Improvements & Configurable TDP
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  • shiznit - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    Intel's APU is more integrated than AMD's
  • TypeS - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Guess you're one of those fanboys that just couldn't come back down from high of AMD's time in the spotlight with the Athlon 64?

    For someone who speaks of facts, you need to go check the architecture of both the SNB and Llano/Brazo cores before you say AMD has the more integrated approach.

    AMD is just using marketing nonsense with calling their new CPU an "APU", just like when they called the Phenom X4s "true quad cores".
  • JonnyDough - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    Marketing fluff is Intel's bag, right? Maybe you forget the whole "clock speed" fiasco. Selling P4's claiming they are faster than the competition, although they are not...

    At least consumers eventually caught on and OEMs began looking at AMD processors as well. :)

    You all sound like fanboys though, who really cares who's right? We should just be excited about the TECH!
  • Kaihekoa - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    Lol with Intel's capital and recruiting experienced GPU engineers that "two year lead" will evaporate faster than boiling water. I don't know where you're getting your delusions of the mainstream market sapping up AMD's CPU/GPU combination marketing and products, but the average computer user doesn't use or need anything more than Intel's current generation of graphics. And as others have mentioned Intel's design is more integrated than AMDs on an engineering/design level.

    Yes, they have the more powerful GPU, but you have to be an idiot to think it's more integrated than Ivy Bridge. CPU performance and graphics good enough to power 2D and 3D accelerated media are the yardstick for PC performance for the vast majority of users. You're truly deluding yourself if you think the average computer user is playing The Witcher 2 and Deus Ex on their PCs with cards more powerful than IVB's. Even now with AMD's two year advantage, guess who owns the market for systems with a combined CPU/GPU? For integrated graphics? Wintel.

    Am I an Intel fanboy? No, the last desktop system I built had an AMD CPU and discrete GPU, but you can't logically deny how well their business is doing now, and you'd be a food to think they would overlook the mainstream demand for a high-end APU. In the future when the market needs/wants it, Intel will have something equivalent or better to AMD/ATI.
  • Zoomer - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    Let's not forget drivers and game support, not to mention IQ. Last I checked, Intel graphics drivers were still pretty horrible.
  • iwodo - Sunday, September 18, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Designing Hardware is easy. You throw Money and Engineers you could be there in no time. Especially with the expertise from Intel.

    Software - on the other hand, takes time. No matter how many engineers you put in. Drivers is the problems Intel has to overcome.
  • JonnyDough - Monday, September 19, 2011 - link

    I agree. Software is key. Intel is good at parts of it, AMD is better when it comes to keeping up with game developers. However, business markets make enthusiast markets look miniscule. Still, both are great competitors and we consumers just keep winning. :)
  • iwodo - Sunday, September 18, 2011 - link

    I forgot to add, there is a reason why Nvidia has more Software Engineers then Hardware.
  • medi01 - Sunday, September 18, 2011 - link

    It's actually the other way round. Pretty much any CPU starting from about 2008 is "more than good enough" for most users.
  • BSMonitor - Sunday, September 18, 2011 - link

    "In spite of the marketing hype from Intel it looks like they've conceded that AMD has the better system approach with APUs for mainstream consumers and laptops. CPU performance alone is no longer a valid yardstick for PC performance thanks to AMD's advance thinking and Llano. "

    This is utter nonsense. All AMD has done is transfer 400 of its shader units on to the CPU core. What you have with AMD is a 4-5 year old GPU combined with a 3 year old CPU.

    Both sides of the coin yeild a huge YAWN from anyone looking for real performance.

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