Everything you need to know about Intel's Ivy Bridge

By on March 7, 2012, 10:18 PM

Intel is set to roll out its latest generation of processors this spring despite a minor setback affecting ultra low-voltage models -- the ones destined for super slim notebooks. By normal standards, the launch should mark a new "tick" in the company's product roadmap, but Intel is going beyond just shrinking the current 32nm Sandy Bridge processor by introducing some fundamental advancements along with its new 22nm process.

For those unfamiliar, Intel follows a "tick tock" model for its processor upgrade cycle. With every "tick" the company moves to a smaller manufacturing process, from 32nm to 22nm in this case, dramatically increasing transistor density while enhancing performance and energy efficiency of the current microarchitecture. Then, with an alternating "tock" cycle Intel introduces a new processor microarchitecture.

Ivy Bridge includes manufacturing and subsystem improvements. It is a shrink of Sandy Bridge and is also the first to us Intel's Tri-Gate transistors, which use a nonplanar architecture to cram more transistors into less space, therefore consuming less power or delivering more performance within the same power envelope.

There's been quite a bit of information on Ivy Bridge going around ever since Intel detailed the architecture late last year. We'll recap some of the major changes and practical implications, while also bringing you up to speed on the latest developments, including expected launch lineup and specs.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 25

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dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Just as an addition, Anand has a (non Intel sanctioned) Core i7 3770K review >>here<< for those needing their daily fix of bar graphs.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

^thanks for that.

I was going to upgrade to IVB for PCIe 3.0, but I'll wait for Haswell instead.

Guest said:

^Thanks dbz

I think my favorite comments from that AnandTech article were by Belard & fic2.

Belard - "The odd-thing about intel's HD-Graphics is that the lower-end really needs to have the HD4000 more than the higher end."

fic2 - "I totally agree. Intel is again going to cobble the lower end with the HD2500 graphics so that people that don't need the i7 cpu have to buy a discrete video card. I really wish review sites would hammer Intel for this and pressure them to include the better integrated graphics. It's not like the HD4000 is so good that people will buy an i7 just for the graphics."

Guest said:

I've never bought a tick - I've only bought the tocks and they've been epic wins; Conroe, Nahalem and Sandy Bridge.

I think the ticks give a medium improvement and then the tock comes out on the mature process and defines next generation performance.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Disappointing that SATA 3 and PCIe lanes are not given any real priority in mainstream boards. Will be interesting to see if they do anything with the next gen enthusiast level chipset.

Guest said:

Anand didn't bother trying to overclock it though. The whole reason to buy IB and not SB is the die shrink which should allow insane overclocks.

Guest said:

On the chipset side, Ivy Bridge is supposed to finally support TRIM in RAID configurations. Wonder how that's going.

Guest said:

Can the Ivy bridge mobile CPUs work with the SB laptop motherboards like like socket PPGA988?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Trim and raid is supposedly sorted in the new rst's but I didn't hear if it was ivy only. With luck older chipsets get it too...

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Strange, but according to the last table, there is no difference between i7-3610QM and i7-3615QM. This doesn't seem right...

Lionvibez said:

Guest said:

On the chipset side, Ivy Bridge is supposed to finally support TRIM in RAID configurations. Wonder how that's going.

I don't know where you heard that but its incorrect.

Intel will introduce TRIM in Raid with the RST 11.5 drivers.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

Looks good to me... now lets see some motherboards. Not sure which chip to go with though, prob wait for the TS reviews.

Guest said:

My previous build was AMD Phenom II X6 1090T on a AMD 890FX chipset. It still hauls. My new build is a Sandy Bridge LG 1155 4 Core (showing "8" with hyberthreading) on Intel Z68 chipset, it's faster. AMD's new CPU line (FX / bulldozer) only competes with Intel 1st generation core chips.

I do agree, on CPU's intel has no competition, they try and charge $$$$, however AMD has slipped and unable to compete with intel against there high end stuff. The area's they do compete, prices are nice (both Intel / AMD)

I personally like how AMD tries to minimize needing a new motherboard by not changing the CPU socket. AMD = AM2 -> AM3 -> AM3+ and my board was lucky enough to be AM3+ that had bios update that allows some of the new CPU's, however looking at testing sites... I can't justify the speed increase for the $$$ for the new AMD FX chips in my existing system at this time.

Intel CPU sockets, on the other hand, LGA 1366 -> LGA 1156 -> LGA 1155 -> LGA 2011, and no idea if I will have option to upgrade to Ivy bridge on my new Intel system. That being said, at that moment in time when I did research, it was the best price / performance for the amount of money I allotted for the new system (and aware of the possibility of limited upgrade)

Everything is a snapshot in time. When you purchase equipment, take brand loyalty out of the equation and do homework so you buy the best product for the amount of money allotting to spend. be it AMD vs Intel, or ATI (AMD) vs Nvidia.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Looks good to me... now lets see some motherboards. Not sure which chip to go with though, prob wait for the TS reviews.

You'll probably be able to pick up a well appointed Z68 board for the price of a incoming mainstream Z77. Ensure that the Z68 is PCIe 3.0 compliant, and preferably equipped with a PLX bridge chip (lane extender) and you lose virtually nothing in comparison with the new chipset aside from mSATA, and in a couple of cases, Intel's Thunderbolt.

Anyhow, here's a selection...

ASRock Z77 Professional/Extreme6/Extreme9

Asus Maximus V Formula

Asus Maximus V Gene

Asus P8Z77-V/-V Pro/ WS/ -I Deluxe

Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe

Asus Sabertooth Z77

ECS Z77H2-AX/-A2X

Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H/-UD5H/G1 Sniper 3

MSI Z77A-GD45

MSI Z77A-GD55

MSI Z77A-GD65

MSI Z77A-GD80

Looks as though every vendor has outed their new offerings, with the exception of Intel themselves (DZ77RE, DZ77GA, DZ77BH). The fact that the boards are already listed for sale in China probably means that it wont be long before the rest of us get a chance to see them listed...along with the usual price cuts for the outgoing chipsets.

Guest said:

@^Guest

"Intel CPU sockets, on the other hand, LGA 1366 -> LGA 1156 -> LGA 1155 -> LGA 2011, and no idea if I will have option to upgrade to Ivy bridge on my new Intel system."

They kept the CPU socket 1155 with Ivy Bridge. You do have the option to upgrade to Ivy Bridge. The only thing new is a new generation of northbridge 1155 motherboards, Z77, in order to take full advantage of features with the new CPU. The sensible thing to do is to wait for more information on the overclocking capability of the Ivy Bridge CPU to see how much of an improvement it really is since as it stands it is just a modest 5-15% increase in performance. If it's not enough in the end to justify a switch then just upgrade at every new release of your CPU standing meaning upgrade every new Tick if your CPU is a Tick release and every new Tock of your CPU is a Tock release.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Trim and raid is supposedly sorted in the new rst's but I didn't hear if it was ivy only. With luck older chipsets get it too...

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

The only thing new is a new generation of northbridge 1155 motherboards, Z77, in order to take full advantage of features with the new CPU.

Agree with the majority of your post...but just to be pedantic ...

LGA1155 boards don't have or require a northbridge. The northbridge functionality -(primarily the traditional MCH -memory controller hub) is now a component of the CPU itself- as is the PCI Express function.

The I/O functionality (southbridge, or Panther Point Platform Controller Hub) of the Z77/Z75/H77 probably represents the larger change. Integrated USB 3.0, eight lanes of PCIe 3.0 spec instead of 2.0 and a second SATA 6GB port.

Trim and raid is supposedly sorted in the new rst's but I didn't hear if it was ivy only. With luck older chipsets get it too...

RST 11.5 (TRIM support for RAID amongst other features*) is supported not only on Panther Point (Ivy Bridge), but Cougar Point (Sandy Bridge-P67/Z68/H61 etc.), Ibex Peak ( Lynnfield P55/H55/Q57 etc) and Eagle Lake/Montevina ( usually known as ICH10R/10D/10DO/ for P45 family/X38/X48/X58 etc. desktop, and ICH9M,9EM mobile)

* also includes a verify and repair scheduler, protection for pre-OS (UEFI only), replacement of RAIDCfg32 and RAIDCfg64 command line utilities with CLI 32/64-bit, and some assorted optimizations. RST 11.5 will be superceded by 11.6 (full Windows 8 support) in the third quarter of the year.

Guest said:

@dividedbyzero

"Agree with the majority of your post...but just to be pedantic ..."

Please do. I always welcome informative details and although I did know of those yet didn't include them in all likelihood I should have even though such things didn't hold much sway in my personal logic of when to upgrade. I do aknowledge that such information could mean more to others than myself so it was good of you to add that.

Guest said:

I wonder if this will be faster than i7-3930K in game wise.

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

Darth Shiv said:

Disappointing that SATA 3 and PCIe lanes are not given any real priority in mainstream boards. Will be interesting to see if they do anything with the next gen enthusiast level chipset.

This.

The SATA 3 ports especially.

Get it together Intel, AMD's motherboards have full on native support for 6 SATA3 ports and dual 16x PCI-E slots. Even X79 doesn't support more than 2 SATA 3 ports.

I'm tired of being limited by SATA 3 connectivity on Intel's boards when AMD's had better since their APU. I'm not about to buy a $500 add-in card just so I can run more drives at SATA 3 without terrible performance and third party controllers/compatibility issues. Rather spend that money on some more SSDs and RAID them, oh wait, I can't! *sigh*

Not happy.

princeton princeton said:

DAOWAce said:

Darth Shiv said:

Disappointing that SATA 3 and PCIe lanes are not given any real priority in mainstream boards. Will be interesting to see if they do anything with the next gen enthusiast level chipset.

This.

The SATA 3 ports especially.

Get it together Intel, AMD's motherboards have full on native support for 6 SATA3 ports and dual 16x PCI-E slots. Even X79 doesn't support more than 2 SATA 3 ports.

I'm tired of being limited by SATA 3 connectivity on Intel's boards when AMD's had better since their APU. I'm not about to buy a $500 add-in card just so I can run more drives at SATA 3 without terrible performance and third party controllers/compatibility issues. Rather spend that money on some more SSDs and RAID them, oh wait, I can't! *sigh*

Not happy.

Then go buy a Bulldozer chip. If you end up "happy" with one of those you might want to seek psychiatric help.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Get it together Intel, AMD's motherboards have full on native support for 6 SATA3 ports

Oh well, I guess Z77 owners will have to console themselves with 4-6 ports of better performance...

and dual 16x PCI-E slots.

...of PCI-E 2.0

990FX....2 x PCI-E x16 (2.0) = 32 x 500MB/sec x 8b/10b encode = 12.8 GB/sec

Z77........2 x PCI-E x 8 (3.0) = 16 x 1000MB/sec x 128b/130b encode = 15.76GB/sec...go for any number of PLX PEX8747 equipped boards and that number magically becomes 23.64GB/sec or 31.52GB/sec

I'm not about to buy a $500 add-in card just so I can run more drives at SATA 3 without terrible performance and third party controllers/compatibility issues.

No. Much better to have terrible* performance, and RAID and TRIM issues from the (AMD) SB950

Not happy.

I saw a documentary where local (New Zealand) shopping-mall ninjas were successfully cured of brand fetishism by effectively stepping back and employing a degree of objectivity. Maybe check out your local community notice boards for a similar type of program if the depression becomes acute.

* See acccompanying graph

EDIT: [link] pitting Ivy Bridge 3770K against 2600K and 3960X -all overclocked to 4.7GHz (synthetics only)

Guest said:

Does E1 revision of Ivy Bridge need ME8 and if so why?

Guest said:

Any advice for a noob on whether to buy a SB now or wait for the IB ? Basically want a laptop for photo editing (for work) and then to play diablo (only computer game ive really gotten into apart from old school team fortress). seems to be a few decent deals atm with SB and the 675m however a lot of people seem to suggest to wait for IB. basically want to have it by may 15th so Im a bit worried that another delay may occur

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Might as well wait two weeks. Ivy Bridge is expected to come out before the end of the month. If no new systems are available/attractive at that point, you'll still have a couple weeks to buy a Sandy Bridge model and prices might drop a little as companies flush their older stock. Assuming you buy a notebook with a low-res panel, you might even be able to scrape by with Ivy Bridge's integrated graphics for Team Fortress 2 and Diablo 3.

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