Intel's Ivy Bridge Processors to Reduce Power Consumption to 77W

Intel Ivy Bridge to Have Revolutionary Power Consumption

by Anton Shilov
10/18/2011 | 09:17 PM

Intel Corp.'s attempts to lower power consumption of its chips aimed at ultrabooks and eventually at media tablets and smartphones inevitably bring fruits to desktop personal computers as well. Based on unofficial information, the company's next-generation Ivy Bridge microprocessor will have substantially lower thermal design power compared to the existing desktop chips.


Initially believed to be an evolutionary step from the Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" microprocessors, the Core i-series "Ivy Bridge" central processing units (CPUs) will be much more than just a "tick" in Intel's roadmap. Apparently, the chips, in addition to all major innovations that Intel installed into it, will have numerous power management improvements that will reduce nominal thermal design power of high-performance Ivy Bridge desktop CPUs to 77W, according to a slide that resembles those from Intel's presentations published by ChipHell web-site.

For several years Intel's performance mainstream and performance microprocessors had TDP of around 95W. For example, Intel's current top-of-the-range "non extreme" quad-core Core i7-2600K microprocessor with unlocked multiplier has 95W thermal design power, just like its lower-end brethren. By contrast, the future Intel Core i7-3000K "Ivy Bridge" chips will have 77W default thermal design power, which means lower overall power consumption as well as quieter operation of the whole PC system.

In addition to high-performance Core i7-series "Ivy Bridge" chips with 77W TDP, Intel will introduce Core i5 and Core i3 "Ivy Bridge" quad-core microprocessors with 65W and 45W thermal design power as well as dual-core processors with 55W and 35W thermal envelopes. Previously, Intel recommended to use notebook-oriented 35W processors for low-power performance desktops.

Reduced power consumption does not mean lower overclockability or lower Turbo Boost improvements. Thanks to configurable thermal design power  feature, system makers and end-users will be able to increase or reduce TDP in order to allow chips to more significantly increase clock-speeds in Turbo Boost mode or disable automatic overclocking in order to squeeze the chips into smaller form-factors.

Ivy Bridge will generally inherit Sandy Bridge micro-architecture and will sport a rather significant number of improvements. Firstly, it will have certain improvements that will boost its performance in general applications by around 20% compared to Core i "Sandy Bridge" chips (e.g., enhanced AVX acceleration). Secondly, the forthcoming chip will have a new graphics core with DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1 support, 30% higher performance compared to the predecessor as well as new video processor and display controllers. Thirdly, Ivy Bridge will feature PCI Express 3.0 x16 interconnection as well as PCIe 2.0 x4 controller. In fourth, the processor will support a number of power management innovations. The CPU is made using 22nm process technology.

Intel will release its code-named Ivy Bridge central processing units for desktops in March or April, 2012.