When we think of Ivy Bridge, we conjure up images of decked out gaming rigs with high-end graphics cards and other burly hardware. And that's all well and good, but Intel's 3rd Generation Core processors are equally suited for IT and business end users, so it was inevitable that the Santa Clara chip maker would strengthen its vPro platforms with its latest and greatest processor technology.
Intel's 22nm processors, better known as Ivy Bridge, are fresh out of the fab and have given the Santa Clara's Core architecture a kick in the pants. But is the successor to Sandy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E already old news? Not exactly, though a peek at Intel's Research & Development roadmap reveals that a 14nm manufacturing process is already in development, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) managed to beat Intel's Ivy Bridge to the launch-day punch on a technicality when the Santa Clara chip maker began shipping Trinity and Brazos 2.0 APUs to OEMs last quarter, but as far as retail availability goes, AMD in April would only say the new parts "will be available globally soon." It appears "soon" really meant "next month," at least for notebook parts, and August for desktop chips.
Last month, Dell revamped its Alienware notebook range, which includes the 18.4-inch M18x R2, 17.3-inch M17x R4 and the 14-inch M14x R2. But with Dell’s 2012 Alienware notebook lineup debuting a month ahead of Ivy Bridge’s launch, the new notebooks only featured Sandy Bridge parts at launch. That has now changed, with Dell on Monday announcing the availability of the M18x R2, M17x R4 and M14x R2 with 3rd generation Intel Core i processors.
Well, well, well, the latest version of the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiconductor Applications Forecaster (SAF) is something that PC doomsayers can shove right in their ill-informed pie holes. According to IDC, the worldwide semiconductor market grew by 3.7 percent in 2011 to $301 billion, and barring any unforeseen events, IDC expects the market to grow another 6-7 percent in 2012 with Intel leading the way. That's hardly the sign of a shrinking market, though mobile is playing a big role as well.
Intel stepped up to the plate and seemingly hit a homerun with its Ivy Bridge architecture (which, by the way, is now showing up in retail). It's the first commercial processor to boast a 22nm manufacturing process and 3D transistors, a combination that ultimately leads to better performance with less power consumption than previous generation processors. At the same time, some have reported higher temps with Ivy Bridge compared to Sandy Bridge, and it could have to do with the way Intel attached the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS).
Throughout the years, AMD's strategy against Intel has been to undercut the Santa Clara chip maker in price, though that's not necessarily by design. Clock for clock, AMD's processors don't usually pack the same performance punch as Intel's silicon, and that's especially true with the launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture. In response to Ivy Bridge, AMD decided another round of price cuts was in order.
Samsung today officially introduced what it claims is the world's first quad-core application processor built on the High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power process technology. It's called the Exynos 4 Quad, a 32nm 1.4GHz quad-core processor based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture. With twice as many cores as its predecessor, the 45nm Exynos 4 Dual, Samsung claims the Exynos 4 Quad doubles the processing potential with a 20 percent lower power footprint.
Stop whatever it is you're doing and run through your office or down the street yelling, 'Ivy Bridge is here! Ivy Bridge is here!' Sure, you'll elicit funny stares as you lap the water cooler and blow by accounting's set of cubicles, but those 'in the know' will understand what all the fuss is about. They'll also be appreciative of the heads up that, finally, Intel's Ivy Bridge launch is official.
Trouble with TSMC's (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) 28nm process technology could force Nvidia and Qualcomm to seek out other foundries. In fact, Nvidia reportedly has already started sampling its chips on Samsung's 28nm process technology, representing a significant shift in behavior and a potential huge loss for TSMC, which is currently the sole provider of chips for Nvidia.