The launch of Intel’s third generation of Core-series processors, code-named “Ivy Bridge”, has been marred by mystery, but as we get closer to the expected launch date of later this month we’re seeing more and more information leaks. The latest tidbit may come as bad news for those with unrealistically high expectations, but for the rest of you it actually isn’t that bad.
Late last year, we reported that Ivy Bridge processors would have a TDP of no more than 77 watts, but pictures of the retail box as shown by a European retailer have 95w printed on the information sticker. This will partly explain the heat issue, which we will cover shortly. There is an unlikely possibility that the TDP is a misprint, but from the looks of things it wasn’t possible to keep the expected speeds while staying within the 77w TDP.
The second bit of information is a trend that has been picked up. Ivy Bridge chips run hotter than second-generation “Sandy Bridge” at any given clock-speed – much hotter. So hot in fact, that a user by the alias “RawZ” on the Aria.co.uk forums found that by 4.7 GHz his chip had begun to throttle due to high temperatures, and by 4.6 GHz he was in the 90′c range even though he was using a Corsair H100 closed-loop water cooling system. Conventional air or water cooling definitely won’t be enough to hit the same high clock-speeds that were seen on Sandy Bridge processors.
Ironically enough, the reason for the increased temperatures stems from Intel’s new 22 nm Tri-gate technology which was expected to lower both power consumption and temperatures. With 22 nm technology, the transistors are more densely packed than on the older 32 nm process used by Sandy Bridge. With that comes a smaller die area, and as such a larger heat-load that needs to be dissipated for any given unit of area. It is also rumored that Intel is still trying to perfect their 22 nm technology, which would explain the higher TDP.
The 200 to 300 MHz lower clock speeds may discourage owners of 4.8 GHz Sandy Bridge processors from upgrading, especially when you consider the fact that Ivy Bridge isn’t promising massively higher IPC (instructions per clock) performance. For the extreme overclockers, however, Ivy Bridge promises to be a haven of fun for both RAM and CPU overclocking.
As previously reported, the chips will appeal greatly to the extreme overclocking crowd. XtremeSystems owner Charles “FUGGER” Wirth had the following to say about his CPU: “-40c (single stage) will be enough to topple the best. -100c (cascade) and you will see numbers worthy of showing off. -180c upper 6′s. > -200c lower 7′s.” What this means is that with a chip such as his, single-stage phase-change cooling or dry ice will be enough to beat the best current scores; moving on to multiple-stage phase-change cooling will give results in a completely different league to what we have now; liquid nitrogen will get you close to 7 GHz; colder will take you past 7 GHz. Jonathan Horne