OVER the past week I encountered three individuals looking for a new computer, and I told them to hold on a little longer because whether desktop or laptop, Intel's current Sandy Bridge processor will soon be phased out to make way for the newer, smaller, faster, more-efficient Ivy Bridge chip.
"What difference does it make?" was the same response I got from all of them.
A few reviews have noted that the performance on the Ivy Bridge quad-core chip is faster than on the six-core Sandy Bridge chip, basically, four cores out-perform six cores here.
Also, the most impressive feature of Intel's new 22 nanometre (nm: nanometer is one-billionth of a metre) Ivy Bridge processor, is its graphics capabilities.
The built in graphics card, or on-board graphics, in these processors is a huge improvement over the chips found in current-generation Sandy Bridge (model: HD 3000).
Benchmarks have shown that the on-board graphics of Ivy Bridge (model: HD 4000) is fast enough to make inexpensive entry-level graphics cards obsolete. So particularly for those who buy laptops, or mini desktop towers in the shape of iMac's, you may as well wait.
Why not? You wait a little longer for an upgrade that doesn't come that often. Sandy Bridge was widely available in January 2011, so if you're going to buy a laptop that will last you three, maybe four years, this will be worth the wait.
I've already held off for more than a year waiting for the next generation chip, probably because the Sandy Bridge chip wouldn't be a big enough upgrade for me, currently still on a Intel Core 2 Quad Kentsfield Q6600 processor.
Intel's release dated May 4, announced a "major technical breakthrough and historic innovation in microprocessors", with the Ivy Bridge chip, which features the world's first 3-D transistors, called Tri-Gate, in a production technology.
"It gives an unprecedented combination of performance improvement and power reduction to enable new innovations across a range of future 22nm-based devices from the smallest handhelds to powerful cloud-based servers," it said.
The three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistors represent a fundamental departure from the two-dimensional planar transistor structure that has powered not only all computers, mobile phones and consumer electronics to-date, but also the electronic controls within cars, spacecraft, household appliances, medical devices and virtually thousands of other everyday devices for decades.
"Intel's scientists and engineers have once again reinvented the transistor, this time utilising the third dimension," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini in its statement.
On a less technical note, the Ivy Bridge processor will give: lower consumption; richer visual experience; and thinner form factors.
With it, PC manufacturers can move more towards the more-desired Ultrabook/Macbook Air style, and obviously in those, you don't have room to get a dedicated graphics card.
So if you need some decent graphics and ultra-portability, the Ivy Bridge and its HD 4000 on-board graphics will be needed.
Even entry level laptops, below the $900/$1,000 mark, will be without a dedicated graphics card as well, so a refresh of products will be equipped with Ivy Bridge too.
The best thing about new CPU's, is the price difference won't be all that different. Usually the price is maintained, so for the same price, you get a better device. Why not?
Hewlett Packard has already four with the new chip, while companies like Asus Lenovo, Samsung, and MSI already have Ivy Bridge laptops available for purchase.
The latest Macbook Pro refresh will definitely have the new Ivy Bridge and will come soon as stocks on the current generation Pro's are running low.
The Ivy Bridge CPU will also support a retina display, which supports rumours of the new Macbook Pro's sporting a retina-quality display.
So for about the same price, you would be getting an estimated 20 per cent more processor performance whilst using 20 per cent less power.
The Brunei Times
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
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