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FAQ: Intel Ivy Bridge processors

All your Ivy Bridge questions answered

Intel has launched its latest generation of processors called Ivy Bridge. So you're probably wondering what it all means to the technology world and computing. We've put together this FAQ to answer all your burning questions. See also Yoyotech Warbird XTi review.

Intel Ivy Bridge: What is Ivy Bridge?

Ivy Bridge is Intel's third generation of Core i processors. They succeed the second generation called Sandy Bridge. See also: Intel launches Ivy Bridge processor family.

Intel Ivy Bridge: What are Ivy Bridge processors for?

Intel has designed the range of Ivy Bridge chips for desktop PCs and laptops.

Intel Ivy Bridge: How many cores does Ivy Bridge have?

All Ivy Bridge processors have four cores, the same as Sandy Bridge. Certain models have Hyper Threading technology.

Intel Ivy Bridge: How many Ivy Bridge processors are there?

The initial Ivy Bridge launch includes five desktop processors - three are Core i5 and two are Core i7. Below is a brief overview of their specifications.

•    i5-3450, 3.1-3.5GHz, four cores, four threads, 6MB cache, HD 2500 graphics.
•    i5-3550, 3.3-3.7GHz, four cores, four threads, 6MB cache, HD 2500 graphics.
•    i5-3570K, 3.4-3.8GHz, four cores, four threads, 6MB cache, HD 4000 graphics.
•    i7-3770, 3.4-3.9GHz, four cores, eight threads, 8MB cache, HD 4000 graphics.
•    i7-3770K, 3.5-3.9GHz, four cores, eight threads, 8MB cache, HD 4000 graphics.

There are also low power and mobile editions in the range. Take a look at Intel's site for the complete list.

Intel Ivy Bridge: Where is the Core i3 model?

The launch of Ivy Bridge processors doesn't include any Core i3 models. Intel has said these will launch later in the year.

Intel Ivy Bridge: What are the benefits of Ivy Bridge?

The main benefits of Ivy Bridge can be summed up in three areas - graphics, media performance and energy efficiency. The biggest area of improvement is the graphics side of the chip.

Intel Ivy Bridge: What fabrication process is used for Ivy Bridge?

A 22-nanometer (nm) process is used to manufacture Ivy Bridge processors. In comparison Sandy Bridge chips used a 32nm process.

Intel Ivy Bridge: How fast is Ivy Bridge?

In our tests we only saw an overall 2.6 percent improvement in application performance using WorldBench 6. But some individual components of the test achieved up to 6 percent improvement. It is the graphics side of things where we saw the biggest improvements. See also: Intel Ivy Bridge review.

Intel Ivy Bridge: When will Ivy Bridge be available?

The first wave of Ivy Bridge processors will be available on 29 April.

Intel Ivy Bridge: How much power does Ivy Bridge use?

The main desktop processors which we listed earlier all have a thermal design power (TDP) of 77W. However, the Ivy Bridge range includes chips with a TDP of 65W, 45W or 35W.

Intel Ivy Bridge: Is Ivy Bridge compatible with Sandy Bridge motherboards?

Yes, Ivy Bridge is compatible with the LGA1155 socket so can be easily upgraded without a new motherboard. However, there are advantages to getting a 7-series motherboard for Ivy Bridge chips. See: Intel Ivy Bridge 7-series motherboards tested.

Intel Ivy Bridge: Will I need a graphics card anymore?

As we mentioned earlier the biggest improvement area with Ivy Bridge is the graphics. In our tests we saw an improvement of 45 percent in video transcoding and up to 36 percent in a gaming benchmark. Hard-core gamers will still want a dedicated graphics card but budget cards are effectively obsolete with the introduction of Ivy Bridge. See also: Ivy Bridge graphics kills budget graphics cards.

If you have more questions post them below and we'll do our best to answer them.

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