Another month, and another Intel roadmap leak! It’s not uncommon to see these pop up two or three times a year, giving us some idea of when we can expect to see Chipzilla’s latest CPU tech. In this case, it means that Ivy Bridge, chock full of those 3D transistors, will start hitting desktops as early as April of next year.
It’s not 100% clear yet why the the company decided to push back the launch of its Ivy Bridge processors. The upcoming IB update is part of Intel’s well-defined “Tick-Tock” process of bringing new microprocessors to market. In “tick” years, the platform launch is a smaller, more efficient version of the previous generation tech. Ivy Bridge falls into this category, as a redesigned variant of Sandy Bridge, but built on a smaller – 22nm small, in this case – manufacturing process. The 3D “tri-gate” transistors will also be added in at this time.
“Tock” refers to a major new architecture changeup, which we won’t see until 2013 at the earliest. These take the smaller manufacturing process introduced by the last-generation tick architecture, and make an entirely new platform.
The new desktop processors showed off include models in the mainstream, premium and extreme categories, the latter of which are now comprised solely of Intel’s high-end six-core CPUs. With HyperThreading enabled, it shows up as 12 threads to the host operating system; it’s unknown at this time (but it seems probable) whether next year’s high-end chips will hit core counts beyond that.
Ivy Bridge will hit the mainstream and premium categories starting in Q2, which could be anywhere from April to June. The chips are currently planned to hit the Core i5 and lower Core i7 ranges; the high-end Core i7s in the upper premium and extreme categories will remain as part of the recent Sandy Bridge E form factor, requiring the new LGA2011 socket.