GPU is the big winner with low-end discreet graphics cards under threat from the third-generation Core processors.

Intel launches Ivy Bridge processors

Chipmaker Intel has launched the firm’s Ivy Bridge third-generation of Core i5 and i7 processors featuring 22-nanometer 3D tri-gate transistors.

The bleeding edge 22nm die-shrink and fancy stacked transistors enables Ivy Bridge to deliver roughly 20 per cent more performance for 20 per cent less power, Intel said. In addition, Ivy Bridge integrates a new, faster, graphics processor (IGP) and finally brings native support for USB 3.0 to Intel platform.

Intel said that the new IGP was capable of delivering up to double the 3D graphics and HD media processing performance compared to the previous 32nm Sandy Bridge. In an Anandtech review of the flagship Core i7-3770k processor, the tech site said that Ivy Bridge was good for playing in ‘medium quality settings’ at resolutions of 1366 x 768.

Ivy Bridge presents what Intel calls a process ‘tick’ or a slight bump in capability rather than an entirely new architecture. However this time around Intel described Ivy Bridge as a ‘tick-plus’.

"Our engineers have exceeded our expectations by doubling the performance of media and graphics versus the best processors we’ve built until today, which means incredible new visual experiences are here for new all-in-one PCs and upcoming Ultrabook devices," said Intel veep Kirk Skaugen.

Anandtech called Ivy Bridge the "best performing client x86 architecture on the planet" but lamented Intel’s decision not to boost the GPU yet further to the point that discreet graphics cards are no longer required for decent PC gaming.

"Intel is going to have to be more aggressive with spending silicon real estate if it really wants to be taken seriously as a GPU company," said Anandtech.

Intel said that further versions of the Ivy Bridge processors will appear over the next few months to power a "new wave of systems ranging from ultrabook devices, to servers and intelligent systems in retail, healthcare and other industries."

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