Technology Brief: Intel's Ivy Bridge
On May 31, 2012 Intel revealed full details of its next generation microarchitecture codenamed Ivy Bridge. These dual and quad core processors are the third generation Intel Core family processors.For desktops and notebooks, Ivy Bridge brings improved performance, significantly better video, and integrated USB 3.0. Notebooks also will benefit from improved battery life.
Like the previous generation Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, Ivy Bridge processors have the graphics and memory controller integrated directly onto the chip, with a general aim to lower the power consumption while giving better integrated graphics performance.
Ivy Bridge utilizes Intel's Turbo Boost technology. Turbo Boost dynamically adjusts the clock speed of each processor core according to the workload need and temperature limits. This technology is now also used on the chip's integrated graphics, allowing for the processor to adapt better to different workload situations. Along with Turbo Boost, some Ivy Bridge processors also perform hyper-threading, allowing each core to multitask and process two threads per core.
Second Versus Third Generation Core Processors
|Current Clock Speeds||1.4 GHz to 3.4 GHz||1.7 GHz to 3.5 GHz|
|Level 3 Cache||3/4/6/8 MB||3/4/6/8 MB|
|Fabrication Process||32 nm||22 nm|
Ivy Bridge systems also transition from HD 2000 or HD 3000 integrated graphics to HD 2500 or HD 4000 integrated graphics. Early testing results with HD 4000 graphics at the University show that the HD 4000 should suffice for almost all desktop and notebook users. Thus, ISC's graphics recommendation is now for a discrete video card or Intel integrated graphics (HD 3000 and above). This recommendation does not include lower-end integrated graphics such as HD 2000 or HD 2500, which are insufficient for University use.
Mobile Ivy Bridge processors combined with a compatible Intel wireless card enable the use of Intel Wireless Display or WiDi. This uses the integrated graphics of the processor to stream video to a WiDi compatible display without any cables. Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge both support WiDi resolutions of 1080p.
Notebook and Desktop Hardware With Ivy Bridge
Apple has not yet released Ivy Bridge in their product lines, though ISC expects at least some products to revise in June 2012.
Dell plans to release Ivy Bridge-based notebooks across their Latitude E-Family product line. There is not much change in look and feel besides the removal of the orange keyboard border, but there is one new configuration: a 14-inch display in a 13-inch chassis designated the E6430s. For the initial round of releases, Dell has announced:
- Latitude E6230 12-inch
- Latitude E6330 13-inch
- Latitude E6430 14-inch
- Latitude E6430s 14-inch (new lightweight configuration)
- Latitude E6530 15-inch
- Latitude E5430 14-inch
- Latitude E5530 15-inch
- Latitude E6430 ATG hardened 14-inch
Dell has also announced new Ivy Bridge-based OptiPlex 9010, 7010, and 3010 enterprise-class desktops.
Lenovo plans to release Ivy Bridge-based notebooks across much of their ThinkPad product line. The major change in look and feel is a general movement to the island/chiclet keyboard style that Lenovo premiered with the ThinkPad X1. This allows much easier and better backlighting, but is meeting with resistance from some longtime ThinkPad customers. For the initial round of releases, Lenovo has announced:
- ThinkPad X230 12-inch
- ThinkPad X230t 12-inch convertible tablet
- ThinkPad X1 Carbon 13-inch
- ThinkPad T430 14-inch
- ThinkPad T430s 14-inch
- ThinkPad T530 15-inch
ISC has more extensive product notes on Lenovo's Ivy Bridge-based ThinkPad (notebook) and ThinkCentre (desktop) releases.
Intel Core graphic courtesy of Intel
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (May 31, 2012)