After spending some time with Ivy Bridge we quickly discovered that Intel has raised the bar across the board for performance. Not bad considering that Ivy Bridge does not feature a brand-new microarchitecture and is basically a die shrink of Sandy Bridge. The performance gains are modest to say the least, but any increase is a welcome one!
The one area that the 22nm Ivy Bridge processors really shine in is the graphics department. Usually we don’t have too many positive things to say about Intel HD Graphics, but the new Intel HD 4000 series graphics engine shows major improvement. Intel said that mainstream gamers should be able to use Intel HD Graphics 4000 as they have up to twice the 3-D graphics performance compared to the previous-generation processor. Our testing showed that performance improved by up to 60% in game titles, which is a significant increase and nothing to laugh at. AMD and NVIDIA better be keeping a close eye on what Intel is doing with their graphics as mainstream users don’t need a discrete video card to do the vast majority of tasks an average user does. Gamers and enthusiasts will still need a graphics card, but the casual gamer might be able to get away without using one. Intel has also been making improvements to Quick Sync Video and those are starting to pay off as well.
Intel will be releasing the unlocked Intel Core i7-3770K and Core i5-3570K, in addition to standard i7-3770, i5-3550, and i5-3450 processors. The prices will range from $174 to $313 and are very affordable when you consider that they are priced below Sandy Bridge processors and perform better with lower power consumption. It is odd that Intel has yet to mention any Core i3 Ivy Bridge processors for the desktop user, but we are sure those lower cost alternatives will be coming out later. All of the processors mentioned in this review should be available to purchase on April 28th.
If you have been waiting on Ivy Bridge 22nm processors to arrive before building your next system, your wait is finally over. Ivy Bridge is an improvement across the board and is the CPU to buy right now!