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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Intel Details 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs

Intel gave its first public disclosure of Ivy Bridge, its first 22nm processor family due to be released in H1 2012 at the Intel Developer Forum.

Intel said that successor to the Sandy Bridge design boast significant improvements in on-board graphics, overall performance and a handful of advances in power management and security.

Ivy's central core design is similar to Sandy Bridge in some ways as it features the same two-chip solution - PCH and CPU - socket, shared cache, and memory-controller found on the incumbent chip.

However, shifting down to 22nm and using the tri-gate FinFET transistors enables Intel to offer either greater power efficiency or more performance than Sandy Bridge for a set die size. Intel said that teh new chips deliver twice the performance or half the power compared to 32nm Sandy Bridge chips.

Ivy Bridge graphics support Microsoft's Direct X 11 graphics APIs, an area where Intel parts used to lag a generation. They also add support for three simultaneous displays and an L3 cache.

Intel did not disclose specific numbers for Ivy Bridge. However, the company said that the graphics support 32 times more scatter/gather operations than the current Sandy Bridge chips. By increasing thread counts and moving to issuing multiple threads in parallel, the cores now support twice the instructions per cycle, Intel said.

Intel said it enhanced video performance of the Ivy Bridge cores in at least two ways. Designers boosted media sampler throughput for better scaling and filtering and added new color and contrast enhancements to the pixel-processing at the back end of the process.

The media blocks also added support for encoding using the multi-view codec, key to support for stereo 3-D.

Intel added to the chip a digital random number generator that meets key ANSI and FIPS security standards. It also added a capability to prevent security attacks based on a process requesting an escalation of privileges.

For power management, Ivy Bridge can shut off I/O power to DDR memory in deep sleep states. It can also automatically route threads to the most power efficient core and optimize voltage use to the most optimal level.

Ivy Bridge supports both DDR3 memory and the new DDR3L low power chips. In addition, it allows overclocking in 200 MHz increments without resetting BIOS, including over-clocking memory up to 2,800 MT/second.

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