Last year, Intel released the Sandy Bridge processor, which promised better performance than its predecessor, the Clarkdale desktop processor. This year, many are excited for the release of Intel’s latest generation of processors, Ivy Bridge. Devices with Ivy Bridge CPUs are said to launch on April 2012. The processors are smaller and faster compared to Intel’s other previously released CPUs. The size of Ivy Bridge’s die decreased from Sandy Bridge’s 32 nm to 22 nm. This will allow manufacturers to create chips that draw less energy.
The Ivy Bridge processors will be the first to use tri-gate (3D) transistors. This will help scale frequency. Tri-gate transistors also promise better power savings. Devices with Ivy Bridge processors will consume less than 50% power at the same level of performance as 2D transistors. Tri-gate technology also allows up to 37% higher speed.
Ivy Bridge has greater CPU multiplier. It has 63, while Sandy Bridge only has 57. Compared to Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge will have an increase of up to 20% in CPU performance. Ivy Bridge’s built-in GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) will have up to 16 execution units. Sandy Bridge only has a maximum of 12. Devices with Ivy Bridge processors will have an increase of 30% to 100% in integrated GPU performance. A fast GPU is important for games and multimedia related operations.
The Ivy Bridge processor has several other improved features over the Sandy Bridge processor. These include:
1. Support for USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt – Compared to USB 2.0, USB 3.0 has 10 times quicker data transfer rate. Thunderbolt permits the transfer of data and DisplayPort video at up to 10 Gbps.
2. Intel HD Graphics with DirectX 11 support – An upgraded graphics core will allow support for DirectX 11. Sandy Bridge processors support DirectX 10.1.
3. A new random number generator – Ivy Bridge will have RDRand, a new instruction for returning random numbers from an on-chip random number generator. It is codenamed Bull Mountain.
4. Multiple 4K Resolution Video Playback – 4K resolution is the rising standard in computer graphics and digital film.
5. PCI Express 3.0 Support – Computers with Ivy Bridge processors will be able to transfer data at a speed of 8 gigatransfers per second. PCI Express 3.0 allows faster communication.
Core i5 and Core i7 will be the first Ivy Bridge processors that will be shipped. By the third quarter of 012, Ivy Bridge should replace the Sandy Bridge platform in nearly all new notebook models using Intel chips.
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