intel_ivy_bridge_processor_ipc_overclocking - 1 HARDOCP - Ivy Bridge Introduction - Intel Ivy Bridge Processor IPC and Overclocking

Intel Ivy Bridge Processor IPC and Overclocking

The new Ivy Bridge processor has already been well covered across the Internet due to leaks of Intel parts into review sites' hands. So at this point there is little to tell in all honesty. But today we work to tell you what you most likely already know, Ivy Bridge looks to be a very solid product but offers little in the way of an upgrade from Sandy Bridge.

Introduction

"Tick Tock," "Tick Tock." This is the story we have heard from Intel for quite a while now and while the cadence the company marches to has been tremendously simplified, its products have become anything but. We are looking at the "Tick" cycle today, a reduction in process technology size and refinements in the architecture.

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The New Ivy Bridge

The new Ivy Bridge architecture represents Intel's new 22nm processor. As we mentioned above, it is likely that you have seen a lot of information controlled by Intel already leaked through specific websites. So do not expect a lot of surprises here.

While a lot of us have come to expect big overclocks from smaller process technologies that seems to have become a thing of the past, at least we see much of that with Ivy Bridge today.

As for Instructions Per Clock advancements (IPC), the new Ivy Bridge processor certainly does show some IPC gains, but these are not gargantuan by anyone's measurement.

Here is what Intel wants to tell you about the new processor.

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As you will quickly notice from the Ivy Bridge die map above, only about 1/3 of the processor is dedicated to the traditional "CPU" portion of the silicon. Another third is dedicated to Intel's new integrated graphics core (Series 4000), and another third to a fully shared L3 cache and memory controller among other IO devices.

The graphics core contained within is hardly robust by even middle-of-the-road [H] standards, but it is very capable of normal everyday mainstream video tasks.

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Both the chipset maps above layout the same basic information in two different slides. Besides IPC and power benefits, the Ivy Bridge processor supports a true PCI-E 3.0 interface. You can utilize lanes to graphics cards either 1 x 16 lanes or you can use 2 x 8 lanes. The new Intel Thunderbolt 10Gb/s technology is bidirectional and is supported by the chipset as well and we are seeing this support on motherboards like the ASUS Sabertooth Z77. Intel finally catches up with the rest of the world by natively supporting USB 3.0. On the SATA side, we still see only two 6Gb/s ports supported natively.

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Obviously this is an LGA1155 supporting chipset. While it is Intel's usual game plan to switch around sockets, it is sticking with LGA1155 for Ivy Bridge, and while we see this as a great thing, the cross-support among chipsets brings up some interesting options. We have had almost no issues running Sandy Bridge processors on this new Z77 chipset. As you can see outlined in the slides above, Intel is stating that there is some support backwards for Ivy Bridge on 6 Series Express Chipsets. While we have not had any experience with this, it does seem that some motherboard builders might possibly be pushing out some BIOS for Ivy Bride support on 6 series chipsets.

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Intel was kind enough to send us a sparkling new K series processor, a 3770K. We usually get the expensive "Extreme" processor and we, and our readers, just don't identify too well with that part. Thanks to Intel for sending an overclocker SKU this time.

As you can see from the chart above, the 3770K and 3570K will respectively "replace" the Sandy Bridge 2600K and 2500K processors. I did think it was interesting that the base clock on the 3770K is 100MHz faster than on the non-K SKU, while those two parts do share the same Turbo frequency. As expected, the Core i5 parts lack HyperThreading and 2MB of L3 cache.


Video Killed the Radio Star...Well, Not Yet

The final hurdle we are seeing for new "APUs" like AMD's Fusion and Intel's integrated "graphics" are one in the same. Beyond traditional desktop activities, what can we actually use these graphics engines for? Currently, in the enthusiast realm, not a whole lot. We have been asking for HandBrake support for literally years now when it comes to the GPU and it seems to be just around the corner. Enthusiasts might soon be able to leverage the video work units on these integrated video engines in a way that means something to us. This is not to say that the Intel Series 4000 graphics engine is not robust for a normal user, it is, as it will do just about anything asked of it, even some 3D gaming. But once we can put our laptops to use transcoding video for our phones, we will see a huge shift to that usage in a mobile sense. There is currently software noted by Intel as being used for Series 4000 video leverage, it is just not much of an enthusiast resource.

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The one name on the list that does interest me, and probably many of you is GoPro. I know that many [H]'ers are into motor sports and such and utilize these cameras. I am not sure what it does quite yet, but here's to hoping that it is GPU accelerated encoding. As for the rest of the software shown, none of it personally interests me. Hopefully we see HandBrake soon as mentioned as well as GIMP.