Where Sandy Bridge really was a completely new architecture, Ivy Bridge shows a lot of common denominators with Sandy Bridge, aside from the IGP. The foremost complicating factor was moving the architecture towards a smaller production node, Ivy Bridge is a 22nm processor series. Let me get it right out of the way, the processor series has 1.4 Billion transistors and a 160mm2 die size.
Inside the processor die, merged deeply in there, we spot an integrated GPU (I really like to call it a video processor though) based on Intel 4000 series graphics, with roughly twice the performance of the last generation we saw from say a Core i7 2600 processor.
That definitely is an improvement in the low-end segment, excellent news for ultra portables, notebooks and net-PCs. Obviously the AVX instruction set extensions are present in Ivy Bridge as well as an updated Turbo engine (now 2.0) allowing more efficient per core performance and clock and higher Turbo frequencies.
We noticed really good power consumption especially in idle without a dedicated graphics card.
Now you can run an Ivy Bridge processor on a series 6 chipset like Z68 IF your motherboard manufacturer supplies you with an updated BIOS. But should you go all new, Z77 will be the primary and most interesting chipset in a new motherboard. With Z77 you will also gain native USB 3.0 support and PCIe Gen 3 slot compatibility.
What is Intel releasing?
Intel today releases the next (3rd) generation Core i3/i5/i7 processor family. Though today is all about the Core i7 3770K processors, there will be a huge lineup in the months to come, below you can see a small overview of what you can expect based on this new architecture for desktop processors:
What's interesting from a naming point of view is that Intel chooses three different suffixes for the processors, we have a K model, a T model and a S model. A little confusing, but it does make some sense:
The K suffix denotes a processor with its multiplier unlocked
The S suffix is a SKU with slightly better power consumption and lower clock frequency
The T suffix is a SKU with low power consumption for optimal energy savings
As quick example the 3770:
Regular model TDP = 77 Watts (locked)
K model TDP = 77 Watts (unlocked)
S model TDP = 65 Watts (locked)
T model TDP = 45 Watts (locked)
And amongst these 3770 models the clock frequencies vary as well, we'll show you that later on in the article. BTW the TDP is a bit of a siscussion, as really Intel will note down the 77W versions as 95W. Pretty much the design allows 95W, but 77 Watt or lower is what it'll consume really.
Paired with these processors come new motherboard chipsets, eleven in total of which six are intended for desktop processors, namely the H77, Z75, Z77, B75, Q75 and Q77.
For end consumers like you and me the H77 chipset will be less performance targeted and comes with support for monitor connectivity. The Z77 chipset is targeted at performance and enthusiast end users allowing much more tweaking and providing performance features.
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