If you’ve been keeping up with the super-fast moving tech news and development out there, you’ll know that Intel recently announced a revolutionary new “3D” way of creating transistors for their processors. First off, the term “3D” Intel has chosen to use has ignited an uproar among some users and regular Joes who seem to misunderstand and misinterpret this as a move from Intel to force ‘3D viewing’ on everyone. Cool down everybody, that’s not what Intel has in mind! What the 3D refers to has nothing to do with objects flying out of your display at you while you’re wearing those wacky, overpriced special glasses! 3D here refers to how the Intel chips under the hood of your computer will be made. This ‘stacking’ will enable Intel to continue Moore’s law; further increasing performance and efficiency.
And here are three reasons to continue to be patient if you’ve already begun holding your breath and staying in to your seat for Ivy Bridge:
- 3D Ivy Bridge for everyone! Intel has mentioned that the new fabrication process will not be exclusive to the upper-end ‘Enthusiast’ or ‘Extreme’ series processors, but will be made mainstream into all of their future products. This is arguably the biggest reason of the three listed, because you won’t have to stand in line and scowl in envy as high-end machine buyers, the uber rich and gamers get their 3D processors first before they trickle the technology down to mainstream (car manufacturers and camera makers take note!)
- More power for more hours. As a person who uses a 12 inch ultra-portable laptop to do some serious heavy-lifting (Photoshop, video processing and such), Intel’s new processors excite me a lot. They’re saying performance can be up to 37% higher while power consumption gets cut down to 50% compared to Sandy Bridge products. Having seen the huge leaps from 2nd generation Core-series processors versus their 1st generation counterparts, I can’t wait to see what 3rd generation Core i-series will look like. In theory, a laptop running a Sandy Bridge 2.7 GHz dual core processor with 8 hours of battery life could be outfitted with a 3.6 GHz dual core Ivy Bridge processor and still have 16 hours of battery life! Alternatively, manufacturers can outfit notebooks with smaller batteries and slap in a dedicated graphics card with switchable graphics with the space gain, endless possibilities when one dreams, right?
Desktop users won’t be left out as the power efficiency improvements would mean a pleasant surprise (in a non-sarcastic manner) for you guys when you receive your next electricity bill!
- Better Intel integrated graphics. Well, this will probably benefit mobile users (and people who cheap-out on getting a dedicated graphics card for their desktop) the most because of what I’ve seen in the first two generations of Intel’s Core i-series processors: The first-gen Core i7-620M could play Left4Dead 2 at native resolution (1280 x 800) on a laptop at low settings and borderline acceptable frame rates (20 to 30 FPS range), the second generation Core i7-2620M can do the same with a mix of medium graphics settings thrown into the mix. The 3rd generation (Ivy Bridge) of processors with their integrated graphics is expected to bring a 30% increase versus the 2nd generation chips we have now, along with DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1 support, so imagine that! With Intel Ivy Bridge IGP supporting DX11, we might just see more PC games that take advantage of DirectX 11 too!
- Bonus point: 16:10 ratio displays might make a comeback (Viva la 1920 x 1200!!) or we might see a support for high resolutions beyond ‘full HD’, such as 2K resolution (2048 x 1080)! Sony showing off a concept glasses-free 3D television with 2K resolution four months ago at CES might be a tiny hint of ‘the next big thing’ after Full HD!
So if Intel announces Ivy Bridge processors in January at CES 2012 (like they announced Sandy Bridge at CES 2011), I think we can expect the first cycle of computers and laptops sporting their 3rd generation Core i-series processors to become available by February or March 2012, and swamp the market by June or July 2012. One can barely wait because exciting times lie ahead (nothing to do with Harry Potter!), folks! Hopefully Intel plays their part and 3D Ivy Bridge processors will be as good as they say.