Ivy Bridge Questions...(NOT about when/if the MBP gets them)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NickZac, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Okay, so I really have a comprehensive understanding of computers. By comprehensive, I mean a basic understanding of the basics. Not the specifics and surely not the more advanced details. I like to learn these though and I have a few questions which will both help me increase my own knowledge, and help me get an idea of the potential value in buying a new computer.

    This thread is assuming that the Ivy Bridge CPUs will, sooner or later, appear in the MacBook Pro. I am curious as to what benefits we can expect and how the changes made result in benefits. I have read that the mobile processors for performance (the ones that usually appear in the MBP) will be:


    Presumably, the flagship to replace the current 2.5 GHz quad core and the previous 2.3 GHz from early 2011 will be a 2.7 GHz quad core capable of maxing at 3.7 GHz with an 8 MB cache. It also appears it will use less power than the current model in that tier with its power advances. So obviously, we will get USB3 support, which will be huge for some people (myself included). I am also curious about what we can expect in terms of performance differences of the 2.7 over the 2.5 and 2.3. On paper, a 200 MHz bump with the same L3 cache does not sound like a lot, but again, I have only a basic understanding here so please help me out. The graphics clock rate also seems to be unchanged (actually turbo goes down 50 MHz). It also seems that the max RAM speed that will be supported is 1600 MHZ, which IIRC has been like that since the early 2011 MBP. I also understand that the transistor change will allow a significant boost in power efficiency, which is huge for mobile users who need battery life (myself also included).

    So what else am I missing? What can we look forward to and what aspects of Ivy Bridge will be the real 'deciding' factors in upgrading or not. Obviously, the MacBook Pro may or may not get a face-lift or design overhaul, but I am interested more in the internals in this particular instance. Thank you in advance for taking the time to explain. A previous thread was a major deciding factor in me going to a 15 inch to get the quad core CPU over the dual core in the 13, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it and enjoy that computer every day.
  2. macchiato2009 macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009
    most consumers will never notice a difference in daily overall performance
  3. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The CPU speed increase will be about 10-20%. This by itself is not a significant improvement over the current CPUs of course. Other benefits:

    - Improved (~50%) graphics performance, with full OpenCL and OpenGL support. This will be a huge benefit for battery life and make the automated graphics switching much easier.

    - Some reduction in power consumption (maybe another 10-20%)

    - programmable TDP (unclear how/if this benefits the MBP)

    Ivy will mostly be an evolutionary step - improvements across the board, but nothing that stands out. The improved graphics performance will be huge for MBAs and maybe the 13'' MBP. For the larger MBPs this will be less significant.
  4. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    the cpu increase will be round 10-20% when the comparing the same clocks. The performance jump would be noticeable for you if you did something cpu heavy, if not, there is USB 3 in the chipset to change your mind, again if not, there is the lower power consumption.

    And there is the issue regarding new gpus and all that jazz

    Not to mention that there is a chance that the mbp 13 would have a quad chip in it, and with the improvement of the HD 4000 in comparison to the HD 3000, I would actually wait.

    Those for me are a significant changes, so significant that I might swap my mbp 13 2011 for a mba 13 2012
  5. NickZac thread starter macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    I had a C2D 13 and loved the form factor but went for the 15 because the quad core CPU was such a big advancement. Now I don't think I can go back to a 13 as this is my only computer and the high res and larger screen have done my poor eyes good lol...but quad core MBA or 13 inch MBP would make the selection process a lot more difficult as I loved how portable the 13 was in my Timbuk2 Messenger...

    To me these all sound like good advancements that would make it worth upgrading to me. If battery performance jumps 20%, that would be fantastic as I am already getting 6-7 hours when using low CPU-intensive programs, and I could use an extra 1-1.5 hours. USB 3 would be great too as my office is all USB/eSATA. And of course better graphics, a possible new form factor, a SATA 6.0 GBPS SSD, and elimination of the CD drive would all be welcomed as well :)
  6. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Aside from the GPU there isn't going to be a significant speed difference.
    There are some features that will show up along with it like USB 3.0, 28nm GPUs..

    What you cannot see in all the numbers is the difference in power consumption and heat output. This should be the biggest difference. A cooler longer running notebook especially at medium load.

    Why cannot you see it in those number? Why is the TDP still seemingly the same?
    That is kind of difficult to answer because according to Intel their 22nm TriGate transistors should make a quite big jump here. Enough to change the TDP or the clock speeds a lot. One reason why they are really conservative is probably because that new 22nm process isn't as problem free as their last ones. A year ago they still hoped to release it in January 2012 but it got delayed.
    You reduce risks they start with lower clock speeds and to play it save keep the TDP the same. AMD did with their first 28nm GPU 7970 something similar. That thing overclocks so well they could have probably released it with 10-15% more clockspeed if they wanted to, or would have been more confident with 28nm.

    Intel did something similar with Penryn once. The switch from 65nm to 45nm was without any spec changes at all. They just released almost the same CPU at the same clockspeed and initially with the same TDP. Yet those 45nm CPUs consumed considerably less than the 65nm (about 30% if I remember correctly) A few months later new models where release with 25W instead of 35W TDP. With a more mature process even the 25W could have been lowered considering how well undervolting worked. They probably could released them initially with 25W TDP and no notebook would have had an serious cooling problems.

    Today Sandy Bridge runs with Turbo and GPU Trube really close to their TDP rating. In the past there was more security headroom in the TDP. Today with all the automatic shut down and the CPU being able to monitor ever single dangerous part of the chip for temps, they are more confident of really running them close to max.
    I believe that Ivy Bridge will have a sort of lower average power consumtion. It might make more use of the Turbo and thus be faster than it looks. A few months in they will probably release lower TDP quads. A refresh with significant clock speed increases is also possible but considering they want to lower main stream TDP to 10-20W I think they will rather lower TDP than increase clockspeeds except for the very expensive high end.

    In short the big changes that should be coming cannot be seen on that spec list. We will only know how good 22nm TG is once Intel releases some information, or some better ES test shows up or the first reviews are out. The only thing that is a definite is that speed is not IB selling point. That difference will be marginal and there is nothing you are missing. There are no significant architecture changes (like the new L3 cache ring bus in SB), no integration of anything important. Nothing really worth waiting in regards to number chrunching speed.

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