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Ivy Bridge launched by Intel

Sandy Bridge successor based on 22nm process with improved graphics

Intel has announced the follow-up to its phenomenally successful Sandy Bridge processors – a new range of mobile and desktop processors codenamed Ivy Bridge.

Intel has long followed what it calls a Tick Tock strategy, where Tick is an improvement in process technology, while Tock is an architecture change. Ivy Bridge is a Tick processor – it has a new, more efficient 22nm process compared to Sandy Bridge’s 32nm – but the new processors also have significantly better graphics performance. For this reason, Intel has coined a new label for the new processors; “Tick+”.

The tables below shows the specifications of the new mobile and desktop processors. Click each one to enlarge it for easier viewing

Ivy Bridge Desktop

Ivy Bridge Mobile 1

Ivy Bridge Mobile 2

As you can see, Intel has announced high-end mobile Core i7 processors, and both high-end Core i7 and mid-range Core i5 processors for the desktop. There’s no word as to when the lower-end Core i3 and i5 mobile and Core i3 desktop processors will be available.

Palicomp Alpha DetonatorYou can read out review of the Ivy-Bridge powered Palicomp Alpha Detonator now

The new processors’ microarchitecture is the same as that of Sandy Bridge, but the new, more efficient process technology means you should still see some performance improvements in desktop applications. This is because the new processors will use less power than Sandy Bridge and produce less heat, so will be able to maintain higher ‘Turbo Boost’ speeds for longer. This was definitely the case in our review of a desktop Ivy Bridge processor – the Intel Core i7-3770K – whose performance surpassed our expectations.


In the case of mobile processors, the smaller process should also lead to improved battery life as well as performance. Intel didn’t give much in the way of battery life specifics, but was keen to stress the new processors’ suitability for Ultrabooks – saying that Ivy Bridge is the platform where “Ultrabook Enters [the] Mainstream”.

Asus ZenBook UX31We’re keen to see an Ivy-Bridge version of this Asus ZenBook UX31 soon

Sandy Bridge’s graphics were really only good enough for older or less-demanding games, but the Ivy Bridge’s graphics architecture is starting to catch up with the powerful integrated graphics chipsets on AMD’s Llano processors such as the AMD A8-3850. Ivy Bridge finally supports DirectX 11, and Intel claims up to double the performance over Sandy Bridge in 3DMark Vantage. We saw definite improvements in our Intel Core i7-3770K of the desktop processor – its Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset could play modern games at reasonable detail levels. The new graphics chipset also promises improvements to Intel’s QuickSync technology, which uses the processor’s integrated graphics hardware to help with tasks such as video encoding.

The desktop processors will be available to buy on the 29th April, and we should start to see Ivy Bridge-based laptops around that time. UK pricing is not finalised, but according to Intel prices will be similar to Sandy Bridge processors for equivalent processors in the new range.

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