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Intel's "Tick Plus:" Third Generation Core "Ivy Bridge" Processors Hit The Market

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Intel's "Tick Plus:" Third Generation Core "Ivy Bridge" Processors Hit The Market

Postby sunnyd » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:36 pm

Story :

The first few models of Intel's third generation Core processor, codenamed Ivy Bridge, were launched today, combining faster performance with lower power consumption thanks to Intel's cutting-edge 22 nm manufacturing process.

Since 2007, the microprocessor giant has been using a model it describes as "tick-tock." Each "tick" is a die shrink and introduction of a new manufacturing process, each "tock" is the introduction of a new processor architecture. Ivy Bridge is a "tick," taking the 32 nm "Sandy Bridge" architecture and scaling it down to 22 nm. But Ivy Bridge goes further than past ticks - it includes an extensively improved GPU architecture, leading Intel graphics architect Tom Piazza to describe it as a "tick plus."

The new manufacturing process is no small change. Intel announced last year that its 22 nm process would use "3D" tri-gate transistors. The 3D transistors increase the contact area between parts of the transistor by using a silicon "fin" instead of a flat contact area, allowing much more current to flow when the transistor is turned on. This in turn allows Intel to either increase the clock speed, decrease the voltage (and hence power consumption) or both. Intel is the only company in the world to be producing processors using this technology, with silicon wafer-maker Soitech estimating that the rest of the industry won't catch up until 2014.

Intel has introduced 10 desktop processors and seven mobile processors using the new architecture. All of the new processors are quad core. i7-branded processors (four of the desktop parts and all of the mobile parts) also have Hyper Threading to allow eight threads to run concurrently. i5-branded chips (the remainder of the desktop parts) do not.

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