Intel Officially Launches First Quad-Core Ivy Bridge Processors
In line with the rumored April 23 launch date, BBC News reports that Intel has officially introduced the first batch of its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors. The processors are Intel's first to use a 22-nm manufacturing process and "Tri-Gate" technology of 3D transistors to reduce power and increase efficiency.
The initial launch consists of 13 quad-core processors, primarily focused on the desktop market, although several mobile processors that would be appropriate for revised 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models are also included in the launch. Dual-core chips appropriate for smaller notebooks will follow "later this spring", with previous rumors having pegged that launch date as June 3.
The firm has already built three factories to fabricate the new chips and a fourth will come online later this year.
"This is Intel's fastest ramp ever," [Intel executive Kirk] Skaugen added.
"There will be 50% more supply than we had early in the product cycle of our last generation, Sandy Bridge, a year ago. And we're still constrained based on the amount of demand we're seeing in the marketplace."
In addition to the power and efficiency gains made possible with the Tri-Gate technology, Ivy Bridge will also benefit from significantly enhanced integrated graphics performance compared to Sandy Bridge, which will help with supporting higher-resolution hardware and content, as well as improving transcoding rates. Ivy Bridge also brings new hardware security features and native support for USB 3.0.
The launch of Ivy Bridge processors opens the door for a massive set of upgrades encompassing nearly all of Apple's Mac product line with the exception of the Mac Pro, which is itself long past its usual refresh interval and could see upgrades to new Sandy Bridge E server chips.
Update: Intel has now published its press release announcing the launch of Ivy Bridge, which is officially referred to as the company's 3rd Generation Core family.