Articles: CPU

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Ivy Bridge Model Lineup

The Ivy Bridge series doesn’t seem quite attractive for desktop users so far. Apart from the new-generation integrated graphics core, the only notable innovations are PCI Express 3.0 and reduced heat dissipation. The Ivy Bridge cannot offer higher computing performance. It can’t do more instructions per clock than its predecessor. This didn’t prevent Intel from using 3000 series numbers for the new products, though. The Ivy Bridge series is positioned as a replacement for the Sandy Bridge and is expected to steadily drive the latter out from the market.

It must be noted that the Ivy Bridge release isn’t as massive as the January 2011 launch of the Sandy Bridge. The new 22nm tech process gave rise to certain manufacturing problems, so the new generation of CPUs will come out gradually. Today Intel only rolls out the quad-core modifications: mobile and desktop Core i7 and desktop-only Core i5.

The rest of the Ivy Bridge series will be released in small groups throughout this year.

So, we are interested in desktop-oriented CPU models. They are nine in total, four of them being energy efficient. The following table lists all desktop Ivy Bridge CPUs which will be available in shops starting from the next week:

The first thing we can see in the specs of the new CPUs is the reduced TDP of the top models. The fastest Sandy Bridge processors had a TDP of 95 watts while their Ivy Bridge counterparts, only 77 watts. This is the result of the new manufacturing process. Unfortunately, the clock rate of the new CPUs is lower than 3.5 GHz which is the frequency of the older Core i7-2700K. So, it turns out that we can only expect increased performance from the economical models which have the same TDP but higher clock rates compared to the previous generation. The ordinary CPUs offer a better performance/watt ratio but not higher clock rates. So, once again we are reminded of the fact that the key feature of the new CPUs is their improved graphics core which is available in maximum configuration in any Core i7 as well as in the senior Core i5 model.

Fortunately, the Ivy Bridge has something to offer for desktop systems with discrete graphics, too. For the new CPUs to be faster in practical applications, Intel has re-tuned its Turbo Boost technology. The frequency range being the same, the automatic CPU overclocking is more aggressive now. The clock rate can be increased by 200 MHz even when all of the CPU cores are under load. That’s why the new CPUs are faster than their older counterparts with the same specs in most benchmarks.

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