Intel today announced the launch of its much-anticipated “Ivy Bridge” third-generation family of Intel Core chips, the first wave of which will comprise 13 quad-core processors that are geared primarily for use in desktop computers. Ivy Bridge chips designed for use in laptops are expected to come later this year.
The first iteration of Ivy Bridge, which Intel says is 37% faster than previous-version “Sandy Bridge” chips (with 20% better performance on multi-threaded applications), represents the world’s first chips manufactured using Intel’s 22-nanometer (nm) microprocessor production technique.
The new chips use an innovative tri-gate, or “3D,” transistor design that not only enables more transistors to fit into the same amount of space, but also virtually halves power consumption compared to previous-version 32-nm Sandy Bridge chips. This differs from traditionally flat or “2D” planar gates, the latter of which switch on and off as fast as possible in order to maximize current flow when on and minimize when off. Planar gates suffer from energy leakage, however, when they are made smaller and smaller. With Intel’s tri-gate technology, vertical fins rise from the silicon base, with three gates wrapped around each fin in such a way that energy leakage is dramatically minimized while transistor density is boosted.
In addition to advanced on-board security features, Ivy Bridge chips also offer built-in support for USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0, and feature Intel HD Graphics 4000 for the support of Microsoft DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and OpenCL 1.1.
”The 3rd generation Intel Core processors were created from the ground up to generate exciting new experiences,” according to Kirk Skaugen, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s PC Client Group. “Our engineers have exceeded our expectations by doubling the performance of media and graphics versus the best processors we’ve built until today, which means incredible new visual experiences are here.”
For software developers, the new Ivy Bridge family brings significantly improved processing and graphics power that will help parallel programmers make the most out of their hardware. In addition to its quad-core design, Ivy Bridge’s hyper-threading technology enables the microprocessor to work with eight instruction threads at the same time. Additionally, Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 functionality helps Ivy Bridge manage its own resources, constantly reconfiguring itself to make even the most deep-dive parallel development work run quickly (e.g. 3D graphics, which Ivy Bridge provides onboard support for).
Intel plans to release 14-nm chips next year, and 10-nm chips in 2015.
See what Slashdot readers are saying about the announcement at http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/04/23/1620243/intel-officially-lifts-the-veil-on-ivy-bridge