Intel Ivy Bridge appears, but no mobile chips yet
First 22nm processors target PCs, but Ultrabook version to come soon, and handset variants in 2013
Published: 23 April, 2012
Intel has released its Ivy Bridge chips, which aim to breathe new life into the notebook category while moving in future into tablets and even smartphones. The family is Intel's first to use the 22nm manufacturing process and a tri-gate memory technology, the two innovations promising 20% greater performance at 20% lower power than current offerings.
Intel says there will be 570 designs using the processors, which go up to quad-core, by the end of this year. Most of the initial models are targeted at notebooks and desktops as Intel seeks to revive its traditional stronghold in PCs, under attack from 'post-PC' devices such as tablets, where it has fewer natural strengths. However, it also needs to push its own x86 architecture into those mobile devices and some Ivy Bridge models will have this target in mind, building on the beach head recently established by Atom Medfield in smartphones.
The more mobile iterations, in particular those for Intel's own Ultrabook platform, will be detailed in the next couple of months. These will have just two cores and will run at lower voltages. However, there will be no tri-gate Atom chips until early next year, Intel said at the launch. 2013 will see the first new microarchitecture, Haswell, specifically optimized for the new 22nm process, which will promise a far greater performance boost than Ivy Bridge, which relies on an existing design implemented in a new process.
Other features of Ivy Bridge include a revamped graphics engine, which the company claims to narrow the lead claimed by x86 rival AMD, plus new security features like a Secure Key random number generator, and the OS Guard system to protect against malware. System boot times have been reduced and the new chips include Smart Connect capabilities to download email and social networking updates automatically.