It's looking as though Intel's initial Ivy Bridge roll out might end being mostly a paper launch with just a small volume of processors being made available in early April. If that's the case, you can expect what little stock is put out there to sell out quick, possibly at inflated prices, especially in the second-hand market (places like eBay and Craigslist, for example).
Motherboard makers are just as anxious for Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge launch as the rest of us are, and some of them have already begun rolling out slabs of silicon built around the Z77 chipset. Such is the case with Biostar, which unveiled its TZ77XE4 motherboard at CeBIT 2012. The TZ77XE4 is a socket 1155 part with native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 support.
There's a sort of perfect storm brewing in the PC market that will greatly benefit notebook manufacturers and vendors. If the prevailing theory pans out, notebook shipments in the second half of 2012 could see a huge rise in demand, potentially jumping in proportion from 45 percent in the first half to 55 percent in 2H, or as wide as 40 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
Nvidia may give Ultrabooks a major shot in the arm. The GPU maker is reportedly working on a version of Kepler designed specifically for Intel's new form factor for notebooks, which is great news if integrated graphics tend to make you sad. Details are fairly scarce, but the idea of a discrete next-generation GPU nestled inside a slim Ultrabook is certainly an intriguing proposition.
Those of you holding out to build a low cost system around Intel's Ivy Bridge platform will have to sit through an intial wave of quad-core processors before the dual-core variants are released. Intel is reportedly kicking off Ivy Bridge on or around April 8, 2012, with the launch of the core i7 3920XM, 3829M, and 3720QM, along with the HM77, UM77, HM76, and HM75 chipsets.
In some ways the Internet is like the digital equivalent of truth serum. It forces people to fess up and spill the beans on their shenanigans, because in some cases, their tricks are caught on video and uploaded to the Web for all the world to see. This happened to Intel at CES when Mooly Eden, general manager of Intel's PC client group, was caught faking a DirectX 11 graphics demo on an Ivy Bridge Ultrabook.
Intel may have trademarked the name “ultrabook” — its neologism for Wintel-based ultra-thin and -light laptops, but there is someone whose approval matters even more than that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We are talking about you, the consumer, of course. For its part, the chip maker is doing almost everything to make 2012 the year of the ultrabook.
Jonesing for some performance improved, energy-efficient Ivy Bridge action? You’re going to be waiting for a bit. Just how long is up in the air. Intel’s been mum on release date details for the upcoming line of CPUs, but for the most part, sources have been saying that we’ll see the 22nm chips in May. DigiTimes claims that date may a bit off, however; it points to April 8th as the launch date, and even names the names of models we can expect to see on that date.
At the moment, leaks seem to be our primary source of information regarding Intel’s Ivy Bridge platform, with basic specs and release schedule of the upcoming chips becoming known to us in this fashion recently. The latest in this steady stream of leaks pertains to something that is central to any purchase decision — the price.
The onslaught of smartphones, tablets, and sundry cloud-based devices might give us ways to be “connected” in more places at more times, but they don’t lessen the wonders to behold in a full-fledged PC. Not by a long shot.
In fact, despite all the dire prognostications about the PC, our personal computers are poised to get a major boost in performance, thanks to all the new technologies and components coming to fruition next year. We’re going to give you the complete rundown on what to expect—can someone say fastest CPU ever?—so you can start plotting your next build now.
Oh, we’ll still see plenty of tablets, to be sure, and we’ll tell you how those happening slabs will change, but we’re also going to see a major push by Intel to make stylish, super-portable, super-affordable laptop PCs an even more compelling option.
Yes, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2012. And you can start peeping at what lies ahead by hitting the jump!