Ivy Bridge is Out – Review Roundup

The successor to Sandy Bridge is out. So, what can we expect? Intel’s new line of processors based on the new 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture makes some modest strides in processing performance. Additionally, Ivy Bridge’s manages to bring a significant increase in performance with its on-die GPU. The performance gain in the graphics department is said to be anywhere from 20-40%. That’s a sizable difference, and could make Intel’s solution more attractive in the future (it is still a far cry away from high end gaming, but it is decent for small form factor laptops).

In addition, Hasewell will bring a much more substantial increase in graphics performance. For those who don’t know, Hasewell is Intel’s next “tock” architecture and its release date is speculated to be sometime between March-June 2013. To give you an idea of how much of an improvement there will be, in terms of on-die GPU performance over SB and IB, Hawell wil have 40 EU (execution units) compared to SB’s 12 EUs and IB’s 16 EUs. So, that quite a bump in the number of processing units (EUs are somewhat similar to stream processors, but obvious differ in areas).

Review Roundup

The two models that most consumers will be interested in are the Core i5 3570K ($212 => 4 cores/4 threads) and the Core i7 3770K ($313 => 4 cores/8 threads HT). Both come equipped with Intel’s latest HD 4000 on-die graphics solution and have an unlocked multiplier. These CPUs will replace the SB Core i5 2500K and the Core i7 2700K. Additionally, TDP has been reduced from 95W to 77W and die size has gone down from Sandy Bridge’s 216mm² with 1.16 billion transistors to Ivy Bridge’s 160mm² die size with 1.4 billion transistors. As you can see, since the die size is small and there is plenty of room for growth. When overclocking we can expect to see about the same amount of power increase as with Sandy Bridge. It is quite easy to OC the 3770K to 4.5GHz with on a 140mV core increase (according to anandtech.com).

In addition, Intel’s next chipset is out, but note that only the Z75/Z77 (7 series express chipset) boards will allow overclocking. Lastly, IB performance in terms of gaming with a discrete GPU, is about the same. There is only a few FPS difference. So, if you have a SB based CPU this is definitely not worth the upgrade. As far as on-die GPUs are concerned, there is a 20-40% increase over SB. However, AMD’s APU offerings still outperform Intel in this area and given the option, gamers should always try and opt for a discrete GPU. Therefore, while IB shows a modest boost in CPU and on-die graphics performance, those who currently are using a Sandy Bridge based processor should wait until Hasewell, which comes out in 2013.