Intel has finally released the new 3rd generation series of Intel Core processors. This 3rd generation of the Intel Core processors brings many new features and improvements over the earlier 2nd generation of processors. In this article, I am going to point out some of these exciting features that every computer enthusiast ought to know.
What is the name of the new processor series from Intel?
Ivy Bridge is the codename of Intel’s new processor family. Ivy Bridge supersedes the earlier Sandy Bridge processor family. While Sandy Bridge is considered as the 2nd generation Intel Core processor family, Ivy Bridge is the 3rd generation of the Intel Core processors.
What is the main difference between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge?
The main difference is the the process architecture. Ivy Bridge uses the 22 nm architecture while Sandy Bridge uses 32 nm architecture. This means that Ivy Bridge can pack more electronic components in a smaller area, giving better power efficiency and performance.
Intel has also introduced a new 3D transistor technology in the Ivy Bridge processors. They are also called tri-gate transistors. According to Intel, this new architectural design would result in Ivy Bridge providing better performance while consuming significantly less power compared to an equivalent Sandy Bridge processor.
How much faster are the Ivy Bridge processors?
Intel has not yet released all the Ivy Bridge processors. At the time of writing this article, only the high-end i7 and i5 processors have been released. The base clock frequency of these processors ranges from 2.8 GHz (for Core i5-3450S) to 3.5 GHz(for Core i7-3770K). Later this year more affordable entry-level i5 and i3 processors would be released.
What other notable features are present in Ivy Bridge?
- HD graphics – Ivy Bridge processors have in-built GPU chip inside them. The GPU supports DirectX 11 (Sandy Bridge supports version 10.1), OpenGL 3.1 (Sandy Bridge supports version 3.0). Ivy Bridge processors have the Intel HD4000/HD2500 GPU chips. This means that you do not need an add-on graphics card.
- QuickSync Video – This feature is introduced in the Intel 3rd generation processors. It uses dedicated media processing to make video creation and conversion faster and easier. Whether you want to create DVDs, create, convert and edit 3D/2D videos, upload to your favorite social networking sites – everything is done in a jiffy.
- WiDi 3.0 – Wireless Display technology allows you to stream media content to a multitude of of your WiFi connected display devices. You can share a 1080p 60FPS video using WiDi.
- Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 – Using the Turbo boost technology, you can make your Ivy Bridge processors run faster than their base frequency. For example, a 3.5GHz iCore i7 can be made to run at 3.9 GHz for some time.
Do I need a new socket or motherboard for Ivy Bridge processors?
Not necessarily. The Ivy Bridge processors use the same LGA1155 socket that is used by the Sandy Bridge processors. This means that you can fit a new Ivy Bridge processor in your older 2nd generation motherboard.
But by using your new Ivy Bridge processor in an older 2nd generation motherboard/socket, you will not be able to use all the new features introduced in Ivy Bridge. For example, Ivy Bridge has inbuilt USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 support which will not work with older boards. So it is suggested that you invest in a new motherboard to get the maximum performance from your new processor. If you are going to buy a new motherboard, then you should know that the 3rd generation Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 processors are best matched with the Intel Z77, H77 and H61 chipset boards respectively.
What kind of RAM is supported by the Ivy Bridge?
Ivy Bridge processors support the standard DDR3 RAM modules of up to 1600 MHz frequency.
How many cores do the Ivy Bridge processors have?
All the presently released processors are quad-core processors., i.e., they all have four cores. Some of the processors also support eight threads. Although threads are not physical cores but they work like your processor’s simulated cores. This is possible through the Intel Hyper Threading technology which lets multiple threads run on each of the cores of a processor.
There is a speculation that the entry-level Core i3 Ivy Bridge processors, which would be released later this year, will have only two cores.
What different types of the Ivy Bridge processors are available?
There are many types of processors in the Ivy Bridge family. The type is indicated by putting a suffix to the CPU model name. The following list explains these suffixes -
- K – Unlocked, ready to be overclocked.
- S – Performance optimized. Low power consumption.
- T – Power optimized. Ultra low power consumption.
- M – Mobile processors for mobile devices.
- Q – Quad core processors.