Intel launches 22nm Ivy Bridge line of processors

Ivy Bridge represents tick in Intel's release schedule

Yearly cycles have become the norm for the tech industry, and often come in “tick/tock” rhythm, with tocks being major updates, and ticks being incremental refreshes. Intel has officially unleashed it latest and greatest chip architecture in Ivy Bridge, and while it’s a nice update, it falls well within “tick” territory.

Ivy Bridge is the latest refresh of the core series of CPUs, and follows on the heels of last year’s Sandy Bridge. Many improvements come with the latest line-up including native USB 3.0 support, higher efficiency power, and a significant bump in GPU performance due to the new HD 4000 integrated graphics.

Skyrim performance on HD 4000

The performance improvements of the integrated HD 4000 GPU really is the draw here. Integrated graphics performance is now reaching levels that make forgoing discrete GPUs a viable option for even moderate gamers. AnandTech has a great review of the new lineup of Ivy Bridge chips, and go in depth on the performance that can be expected from Intel’s latest.

Further reading: AnandTech

Qualcomm to produce quad-core ARM processors for laptop use

In an interview with PC World, Qualcomm revealed that their S4 processors would eventually be produced for Windows 8-based laptops. Seeking to compete with Intel’s ultrabook initiative, Qualcomm’s ARM-based processors could offer better battery life, graphical efficiency, and connectivity through integrated 4G modems.

In the past, ARM-based processors have suffered in contrast to Intel’s offerings due to performance inequality, but the latest generation of Qualcomm’s “Snapdragon” processors have driven high-resolution screens on mobile devices and 3D graphics that are comparable to low to mid-range desktop graphics. With Windows 8 supporting ARM processors, Qualcomm and laptop manufacturers could offer a mostly indistinguishable experience from that on a more traditional Intel-based laptop at a considerably reduced price and size.

Qualcomm is also teasing the idea of 64-bit support for future iterations of Snapdragon, which would essentially allow the full Windows 8 experience without a hitch. With Intel’s low-power solution in Medfield chips still in infancy, it wouldn’t have too much competition to offer as far as a race to the bottom is concerned.

Source: PC World

Intel’s Ivy Bridge may not ship until June, manufacturing blamed

Intel logo art high quality

Intel’s Sandy Bridge chipset platform has done well for the company. The follow-up to the Core2Duo line brought integrated graphics capable of running systems sans dedicated GPUs in a respectable manner, but it is now getting long-in-the-tooth, and the market is clamoring for the next iteration.

Ivy Bridge is set to make even more advances to the base graphics hardware in the chipset, and introduce a number of awaited smaller features, including native USB 3.0 support. The new chipset was set to launch in the early spring, but recent word out of the Financial Times points to a later-than-expected release in June. The delay is being attributed to difficulties in ramping up production on the new 22nm manufacturing process.

This delay affects everyone, but one company that is especially ready to release new products built on Ivy Bridge is Apple. Apple has a number of product lines that are long overdue for an update including the Mac Pro, Mac Mini, and MacBook line, but regardless of the delay, Apple may have first dibs on the initial shipments as they have in the past.

Source: Financial Times | Image: DeviantArt

Motorola promises Intel-powered devices starting in the second half of 2012

Intel’s entries into the mobile computing space have seen very little adoption and even less excitement in year’s past. Their latest mobile chipset codenamed ‘Medfield’ is supposed to break that trend, which is all the more likely now that Motorola has announced at CES that they’ll actually be producing devices using the chipset later this year. While there are no promises of exclusivity or huge marketing pushes, this news is better for Intel than the meager announcement of a Lenovo phone packing Medfield to be released in China.

Don’t get too hyped up, however, as the benchmarks that leaked late last year suggest that these products may not be truly competitive. With a release window of late 2012, manufacturers of ARM processors (Qualcomm, TI, Nvidia) will surely be yet another generation ahead – essentially meaning that Intel’s lacking power consumption figures and comparable performance to last year’s Cortex A9-based chips could boil down to significantly underperforming phones.

Keep an eye out later this year for more developing news on Motorola’s partnership with Intel.

Source: Intel | Via/Image: The Verge

Intel’s 32nm ‘Medfield’ mobile SoC benchmarks leaked

ARM chip designs have dominated the mobile space for the past few years with widely used solution coming out of Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. Intel is looking to break its way into the mobile market, and first performance numbers of its first “Medfield” chip have been leaked.

VR-Zone reports that Medfield, Intel’s first system on a chip design for vertically integrated mobile platforms, is in testing phases and leaked benchmarks fare favorably for the desktop processor company. Set to go up against offerings from Qualcomm, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, and more, Medfield will be just the second chip in the space built on the 32nm technology.

Few weeks ahead of the official launch, we now have first performance numbers of “Medfield Tablet Platform”. The actual development has an x86 processing core operating at 1.6GHz, 1GB LP-DDR2, WLAN/Bluetooth/FM Radio chip of unnamed manufacturer, 10.1″, 1280×800 resolution screen and eMMC/micro-SD card for removable storage.

In this setup, the Medfield clocked in a Caffeinemark 3 score of 10,500. This compares favorably to scores of 7,500, 8,000, and 8,500 from the Nvidia Tegra 2, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260, and Samsung Exynos respectively. Tegra 3 numbers aren’t currently available.

Potential issues arise with word that Medfield’s power consumption is higher than its rivals. Idle wattage purportedly currently sits at 2.6W (with a target of 2W), and load wattage clocks in at 3.6W (with a target of 2.6W).

Intel has promised a Medfield launch in “early 2012.”

Source: VR-Zone | Image: AnandTech

IDF mania: Windows 8, Intel, ARM, tablets and more

The Intel Developer Forum kicked-off in a big way yesterday with some huge news and a lot of positivity. Here’s a round-up of some of the biggest stories to come out of the show:

Windows 8

Windows 8 tile interface

Windows 8 is coming soon, as in really soon. It is set to hit next year, but you can already download the Developer Preview right now!

There are quite a few experience-changing features coming in this iteration of Microsoft’s OS, and it looks to be the most significant release since Windows ’95. Here are a few of the big features coming your way:

  • The new Metro user interface
  • All new apps designed for single and dual-pane use
  • Device agnostic input, mice and fingers are now equal

    Xbox Live on Windows 8

  • Deep cloud integration
  • Ambient data
  • Windows Store
  • Xbox Live

A ton of outlets have in-depth Windows 8 coverage. Be sure to check out write-ups on Engadget, This is My Next and Tested.

Windows goes ARM, Android goes Intel

Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will have native ARM support, and this makes a lot of sense since it is set to be Microsoft’s default tablet OS as well. The weird thing is, Google took IDF as an opportunity to announce that Android will be getting full Intel processor support. Huh?

The real takeaway here is that whether it’s ARM or Intel, powerful chips that run at very low power are the key to success going forward in the chipset space. People want slim and powerful devices with ample battery life, so device makers are smart not to hedge their bets on any one company’s ability to deliver a high performance/low power package.

Intel planning SUPER low power chip for 2013

Haswell to use 20x less power

Remember when we were talking about Intel getting into the low power processor business? Well, they are serious. They have Ivy Bridge which is set to hit next year, but if they are to be believed, their real push will come in 2013 with a chip that will allow a MacBook to run for 24 hours on a single charge. Named “Haswell,” the new processor uses a new 3D transistor architecture that will require 20x less power than current chips. It all sounds pretty great.

Windows Tablets

Windows 8, tablet style (Engadget)

We had a big write-up here on forthcoming Windows 8 tablets a few days ago, and now a whole slew of new information is out and about with real hands-on pieces around the web. The impressions have been really positive so far, with some even saying that this is the first true competitor to the iPad in the tablet space. Is it possible that Microsoft took just the right amount of time to incubate their tablet offering to out-do Android and compete with Apple? No one is more surprised than we are.

Source: Every tech blog everywhere | Images: Engadget - Tested