Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge
Welcome to Ivy Bridge
Intel’s “Tick Tock” strategy holds the course with new architecture ever 2 years. In the past, both Intel and AMD introduced new architecture every 5 years or so. Intel continues their aggressive architecture change with Sandy Bridge (32nm) and in this opposite year develops new silicon while increasing transistor density. Let’s take a review of Intel’s roadmap:
AMD’s introduction of their fusion technology has put somewhat of a press on Intel in the graphics arena namely with Apple looking for better quality. Ivy Bridge promises to increase performance over Sandy Bridge; the 22nm fabrication and the 3D Tri-Gate transistors delivering more efficiency and Intel’s aggressive engineering of better graphics may be the foundation of things to come. There is no secret both Intel and AMD are more aggressive in the mobility market but AMD has pretty much given up the pursuit of the performance king in the desktop segment leaving Intel alone as of recent. We wish this was not true because a competitive AMD makes a more competitive Intel.
Here we have a look at Sandy Bridge and the 32nm die.
Here is the Ivy Bridge 22nm die. Notice the architecture has not changed but we see the shrink of the silicon and a much larger on die graphics. Intel is using their 4000 graphics with Ivy and finally, it has DX 11 support along with Open GL and Open CL support. This should even the playing field against AMD’s Llano CPU’s featuring their Fusion technology. There are also some modifications to Ivy Bridge that will have better single threaded performance dedicating all the resources to the single core. In multi threaded applications the resources are used simultaneously. Intel says a 5-15% performance boost on the processing side over Sandy Bridge but a 20-50% increase on the GPU side and this is what Intel needed in our opinion. Ivy Bridge looks to deliver the entire package.
Until now, transistors, the core of microprocessors, were 2-D (planar) devices. Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistor, and the ability to manufacture it in high volume, marks a dramatic change in the fundamental structure of the computer chip. Transistor size and structure are at the very center of delivering the benefits of Moore’s Law (a bit of a misnomer, in our opinion though) to the end user. The smaller and more power efficient the transistor, the better. Intel continues to predictably shrink its manufacturing technology in a series of “world firsts”: 45nm with high-k/metal gate in 2007; 32nm in 2009; and now 22nm with the world’s first 3-D transistor in a high volume logic process in 2011.
With a smaller, 3-D transistor, Intel can design even more powerful processors with incredible power efficiency. The new technology enables innovative micro-architectures, System on Chip (SoC) designs, and new products–from servers and PCs to smart phones, and innovative consumer products.
Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistor uses three gates wrapped around the silicon channel in a 3-D structure, enabling an unprecedented combination of performance and energy efficiency. Intel designed the new transistor to provide unique ultra-low power benefits for use in handheld devices, like smart phones and tablets, while also delivering improved performance normally expected for high-end processors.
Here is a close-up of Intel’s 32nm and 22nm transistors. We can see the 3D “waffle” like Tri-Gate Transistor. The speculation on Ivy Bridge’s 22nm die shrink was heat as we will shortly see but the Tri-Gate Transistors look to provide more efficient power so far on paper. The concept, now reality looks promising.
And finally, here’s are a couple shots of the 3770K used in today’s review.
Let’s take a look at the specifications of the three 3770 Ivy Bridge processors.