Heads up, Techies! Intel has just taken the wraps off its latest creation, the third-generation Ivy Bridge processor range, which promises improved performance over its predecessor, Sandy Bridge. The first wave of the chips has been launched and should come to PCs, notebooks, and ultrabooks very soon.
First things first. Ivy Bridge makes us of the 22nm process (as opposed to Sandy Bridge's 32nm architecture) making it, according to Intel, a world's first when it comes to mass-produced processors. It also ditches the more traditional 2D transistors in favor of new three-dimensional "tri-gate" transistors for better performance and energy efficiency (up to 20% less power consumed). However, the claimed improvements were not that huge as we'd like. For example, the third-gen Core i7-3820QM chip showed 8% improvement over the i7-2860QM Sandy Bridge CPU in the SYSmark benchmark.
More on the so-called "tri-gate" design. Ivy Bridge's transistors, aside from being smaller, also share this new element which makes them a bit bulkier by comparison. With the shrinkage in transistor size, Intel has been able to pack more room for integrated graphics. In Ivy Bridge chips packing Intel's HD 4000 graphics, the GPU now eats up about a third of the total die size. This in turn paves the way for significantly better graphics compared to Sandy Bridge's performance with Intel saying Ivy Bridge will be able to handle all recent games out of the box. Not only that, support for ultra high 4K resolution is in the mix, too. Nice!
With Ivy Bridge chips, Intel is telling us that better, thinner, more energy efficient systems will be possible, which is a good sign for ultrabooks. Anyway, the chip maker has so far released 8 Core i7 variants for PCs and notebooks and 5 desktop-only Core i5 chips. Cheaper dual-core i5 and i3 versions are coming in the near future, too, which should be packed in lower-level systems. Now we're hoping a local unveiling is coming soon. We'd like to take rigs sporting this new CPU tech for a spin A-SAP.