Intel Rockets To The Top With Its 22nm Ivy Bridge

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Intel has finally introduced their top line processors. Codenamed “Ivy Bridge”, these new processors represent the “tick” in Intel’s “tick-tock” strategy, where each “tick” is a shrink in manufacturing process technology used and every “tock” is a completely new microarchitecture. As such, Ivy Bridge is manufactured using the latest 22nm process technology and also boasts a number of other incremental upgrades.

Let’s begin by first taking a look at the list of mobile processors available at launch. Looking at the table below, it shows that only high-end quad-core Core i7 parts will be available at this point of time. And looking at the rated TDP, none of them are the low 17W TDP variants that are used in Ultrabooks. This means that folks who want to get their hands on an Ivy Bridge-powered Ultrabook would have to wait a little while longer yet. On the flip side, the Core i7-3920XM sports really aggressive clock speeds and it’ll be interesting to see if it can push the envelope of desktop-replacement systems even further. From what we’ve gleamed in the upcoming line-up of multimedia notebooks being refreshed, the Core i7-36xx series are probably going to be most often used new mobile processor.

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It’s been more than a month since the launch of Ivy Bridge, and Intel has just announced a slew of new mobile processors. While the mobile processors at launch were all high-end quad-core Core i7 parts, the new Ivy Bridge processors today from Intel will include eight new mid-range dual-core processors, four of which are ultra low-voltage 17W TDP variants specially-designed for Ultrabooks. And like the Sandy Bridge variants, the ultra low-voltage 17W TDP parts are easily identified by the number “7” in the last digit of their model name. Here’s a quick peek at the new processors :

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In terms of specifications, the new processors sport slightly higher clock speeds than the Sandy Bridge models they replace, but otherwise retain mostly the same specifications such as L3 cache and TDP. But most crucially, especially for the low-voltage 17W TDP processors that will go into Ultrabooks, they will all be equipped with the new HD Graphics 4000 GPU. For most Ultrabooks which do not have discrete graphics, the new HD Graphics 4000 GPU will give the new generation Ultrabooks enhanced graphics capabilities. And although it won’t let it blaze through the latest games at the best graphics settings, this should at least make Ultrabooks a little more pleasing to use, especially for very casual gaming.

However, note from the specs that the 17W TDP variants have lower processor and graphics clock speeds than the regular mobile processors. This would definitely create a gap in graphics performance and even experience, which we’ll ascertain as soon as the new generation Ivy Bridge equipped Ultrabooks role in to the market. All things said, if you’re really into gaming, you’ll need a notebook with at least a mid-range discrete GPU – this requirement hasn’t changed ever since notebooks have come into existence. What has improved is the base-level experience as the platforms progress every year. For example, video decoding and even encoding is a breeze with these new platforms.

Too bad this wraps up our section.However you should stay tuned for updates and other news.

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