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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  • DanNeely - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    The difference is that some of the writers at DT regularly make major gaffe's not just silly typos.
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    It is long journey to come all the way to Finland so I doubt anyone would voluntarily travel here anyway :D
  • asuglax - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    I know some Sandy Bridge processors already support up to DDR3-1600. The i7-2820QM in my laptop does.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    Unofficially, yes, but official support is supposed to be DDR3-1333.
  • asuglax - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    Intel has it listed as such here:
  • AstroGuardian - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    What are all these official-unofficial BS? Either it supports 1600 or not? Why complicating simple things?
  • Stahn Aileron - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    Probably Intel not wanting people to whine and complain when they buy DDR3-1333 that's not running at the DDR3-1600 rated speed the memory controller is spec'ed at. DDR3-1600, as far as I recall, is still considered somewhat in the upper "power user/enthusiast" realm compared to mainstream DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333 SDRAM.

    TL;DR = lowest common denominator?
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    The official value has to work in a 100F room with the system clogged in dirt. Our systems are much less hostile environments so we can push the parts harder.

    Intel also doesn't want to toss the 1 or 2% of chips with the poorest IMCs when a few hundred extra MHz has almost no impact on normal use.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    So that's somewhat humorous: laptop chips have DDR3-1600 support with SNB, but desktop parts like the 2600K don't. Of course, laptop RAM tends to be less power hungry in the first place which might be part of it. Anyway, the *desktop* Ivy Bridge will get official DDR3-1600 support, which is something desktop Sandy Bridge doesn't have.
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 6, 2011 - link

    I didn't realize it was different for mobile systems. It could also be that 99% of laptops only have room for 1 dimm/channel which makes the bus signaling cleaner.

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