Ivy Bridge Next-Gen Processors Released By Intel
April 23, 2012

Ivy Bridge Next-Gen Processors Released By Intel

Peter Suciu for RedOrbit.com

Intel on Sunday launched its Ivy Bridge processor range, the first Intel architecture to provide native support USB 3.0. These will also be the first to feature a “3D transistor” and it will reportedly offer more computational power while using less energy. The 22-nanometer chips will be first made available for 13 quad-core processors in the Core i5 and i7 desktop families.

Future dual core processors specifically for ultrabook's and thin laptops will reportedly be announced later this spring.

The Ivy Bridge transistor technology has been 11 years in the making, and key to this is the move from a two-dimensional transistor to a new three-dimensional, “tri-gate transistors,” which promises both performance improvement in energy efficiency with minimal cost increase.

Graphics are one of the key areas to see improvement with these new processors, as Ivy Bridge support 4K resolution, along with as much as a 60 percent performance boost over the current generation Sandy Bridge architecture. Compared to the existing 32nm Sandy Bridge chips, Ivy Bridge portably offers 20 percent higher performance for 20 percent less typical power.

Additionally, Ivy Bridge is the first Intel architecture to natively support the USB 3.0 protocol. Until now, support for USB 3.0 as required an AMD-based platform, or a third-party USB controller chip to take advantage of the faster speeds. It is for this reason that Apple has held off from utilizing USB 3.0.

CEO Paul Otellini noted recently that the “bulk” of these initial Ivy Bridge processors would arrive in desktop PCs, but it has reported that Apple is also expected to utilize these new quad-core chips in an update to its MacBook Pro line as well.

There could be some supply and demand constraints in the coming weeks, however. The 2012 processor refresh arrives almost 5 months later than last year's refresh with Sandy Bridge, and some computer manufacturers have held off on major PC revisions as a result. These include HP, Lenovo and Samsung, as well as Apple.

Additionally, AMD will likely not be sitting on the sidelines, and the company also looks to reduce the amount of power in its upcoming Piledriver chips, reports BBC News. However, one industry analyst told BBC's Leo Kelion that Intel would likely retain its lead in the processor market.

"AMD did briefly nudge ahead of Intel in the consumer space in the early 2000s at the time of Windows XP, but since then Intel has been putting in double shifts to break away from its rival," said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the consultants Davies Murphy Group Europe to the BBC.

What is also apparent is that Ivy Bridge, while a bridge of sorts to the future, Intel will continue to look to future “bridge” building efforts, and has already begun work on a successor, dubbed Haswell.