Ivy vs. Sandy

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CosmoPilot, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. CosmoPilot macrumors 65816

    CosmoPilot

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    #1
    First of all, this is not a "should I wait or buy now" thread.

    For all you CPU geeks, what are the advantages Ivy Bridge brings compared to the smoking fast Sandy Bridge processors?

    What I'm really looking for is everyday usage advantages, not bench scores. Will it draw less power therefore extending battery life. If so, by a wide margin. What other leaps does it make?

    The Tri-Gate technology looks cool and all, but I'm wondering how this will affect everyday users.

    Thanks,

    Cosmo
     
  2. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Intel releases products in what people call the "tick tock cycle". Major update first (Sandy Bridge), followed by an update which is normally a manufacturing process shrink (Ivy Bridge).

    Going to a smaller manufacturing process usually means cooler processors than run less on less power and perhaps a small clock speed boost. Various hardware blogs have hinted that the Ivy Bridge update will bring a bit more than normal but nobody seems to have anything concrete. USB3.0 has been confirmed for the Ivy Bridge chipset, implementation is still up to the OEM.

    All of this is speculation, I don't know for sure and I don't believe many people outside of Intel will either.

    The new Sandy Bridge processors don't actually run much hotter or use much more power than the Arrandale ones before it despite having a much higher TDP so I don't see Ivy Bridge being a HUGE step forward for thermals and power consumption at normal loads because the CPUs are pretty smart at managing themselves nowadays.
     
  3. Blues003 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    It's also expected that the integrated GPU will be faster. I've heard ranges from the 20~30% to the 50~60%, so can't really tell how much. Still, better nonetheless.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    The biggest difference will be the move from 32nm to 22nm SOI. That means the transistors will be smaller and require less power. That allows Intel to increase the number of transistors (more cores, EUs or other units) without increasing the actual size of the chip or power usage. Battery life improvements are moot because while the transistors will be less power hungry, you still need to do something to improve the performance. This means more cores or higher clocks, which means more power is used and thus the thermal usually stay the same. However, Intel has told that they are planning on reducing the mobile CPUs' TDP to 10-15W so we might see lower TDPs with IB.

    I would expect quad core to really go mainstream with IB. Currently, it's still mainly in +$1000 laptops but IB could easily bring us some 35W quads which are suitable for smaller and cheaper laptops. The 45W quads could finally get into 3GHz range, making them as fast a current desktop CPUs.

    The IGP will include 16 EUs, 33% more than SB's. Since the clock speeds are unknown, the real performance increase is a question mark but I would expect at least 30% increase over SB, hopefully even more.
     
  5. palpatine, Jun 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011

    palpatine macrumors 68040

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  6. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #6
    That's a great question. I am not an expert, but...

    I don't think we should expect a huge leap in performance. At best, 20 percent over Sandy Bridge, but probably a lot lower than that. I've seen claims of 30% +, mainly from Intel hyping the product, but I am not holding my breath. I think they are talking more about potential for the new chip design rather than actual implementation. At any rate, Intel claims less heat, lower power consumption, and longer battery life will result from using the technology. I think this will happen, and all of use will benefit from this.

    In terms of daily use (office tasks, web browsing, and so forth) I wouldn't expect to see dramatic changes. Speaking for myself, I am already well within the processing potential of Sandy Bridge (i5 + 8GB RAM), so I think the biggest bottleneck now is my lack of an SSD. Performance with games and other processor intensive activities will probably be noticeable with the chip, though.

    For me, the really exciting thing will be seeing the new processors combined with SSD, lots of RAM, higher / better resolutions, in a new case. I am hoping for a Macbook Pro redesign to take everything to the next level :)
     
  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    #7
    The most interesting thing is the switch to Tri-Gate Transistors along with a 22nm shrink. According to Intel's Marketing it is almost like going two steps at once. The Tri-Gate 3D Transistor apperantely helps power consumption as much as a whole lower process node. Thus it is like going to 14nm in terms of power draw.
    Kind of like going from 65 to 32 nm at once but still at the same architecture.

    The other thing that will change is the GPU wich will be DirectX11 capable and somewhat faster. It is only a little more shaders but they said something about 50% more speed.

    I doubt even Intel knows exactly yet how much effect all this will have.

    I guess for MBP the whole power consumption thing will be very good and get us cooler 15". Currently they work at the very maximum of cooling and power draw. I guess Ivy Bridge and 28 nm GPUs will help here make some more ergonomically notebooks out of them. In terms of speed alone I wouldn't expect too much. AMD is still a long way from being any serious competition speed wise in the mobile space and Intel wants to lower TDPs in general for smaller Notebook although they announced a new TDP sheme for the generation after IB.
    I would expect more speed increase from 28nm GPUs than the CPU. CPU will mostly only have a higher clock rate and probably even Intel doesn't know today how much exactly. I am guessing something around 15-20%. They will probably introduce a bigger margin again between higher end and lower.
     
  8. ratzzo macrumors 6502a

    ratzzo

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    #8
    Ivy will be part of a smaller architecture, which allows for faster processing speed. Likewise, a big plus with the introduction of these codenamed chips are the fact that they won't have such a big strain on battery and ultimately grant its users with more battery use.
     
  9. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    #9
    It'll be a jump, but not really one worth waiting for. Architecture changes are really what's key because they allow for things like a 2011 MacBook Pro being faster than an 2009 8-core Mac Pro which cost $1000-2000 more and slightly less portable.
     
  10. WiBu macrumors member

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    #10
    All anyone can do at this point is guess from the little bits of information Intel have shared.

    It's probably safe to assume that they will draw less power and run quite a bit cooler clock for clock. They will probably be a little faster, but nothing revolutionary (though it depends how they decide to "spend" the efficiency gains--performance or quality of life). The focus seems to be on increasing efficiency rather than raw processing power.

    The GPU will be better and is undergoing a not insignificant overhall, but how much so is anyones guess. I believe the GPU will see a bigger jump in performance compared to how the CPU will improve.

    As for the real world differences you will see... Battery life and heat output will be the big ones for notebooks.
     
  11. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    What Ivy Bridge is likely to bring is a 15W TDP part that can briefly turbo up to 35W TPD for a few seconds to give your thin laptop that ultra snappy feeling when you need it. It's not until Haswell, the Ivy Bridge successor, that we'll see 10-20W TDP processors performing up to and beyond that of both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge 35-45W TDP processors.

    That's all great news for the MBA, and probably why Apple has labeled them the next generation of macbooks.
     
  12. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #12
    What Ivy Bridge should bring is an approximate doubling of power efficiency due to the combination of the die shrink and tri-gate transistors. Intel then has three paths it can take:

    1) Keep the clock speeds the same, and decrease power draw by ~50%
    2) Keep the power draw the same by increasing clock speeds by ~30%
    3) Keep the clock speeds and power draw the same, but double the number of cores.

    These three options all have advantages and disadvantages:

    Option 1) For simple tasks, where CPU power draw was negligible anyway, battery life will be unaffected.
    Option 2) Minimal improvements in battery life and temperatures over present models
    Option 3) Although will perform well threaded tasks twice as fast, will result in negligible gains for most tasks.

    One would assume that Intel and Apple would choose a middle ground, and Turbo Boost would result in a CPU that has most of the advantages, but few of the disadvantages of each. ie, I would expect a 35W quad core CPU with normal clock speeds around 2.67 GHz, plus Turbo Boost pushing the max clock up to around 4 GHz for 1 core. A bit faster, a bit cooler, and a bit more battery life.
     
  13. eagandale4114 macrumors 65816

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  14. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #14
    Haswell as what?
     
  15. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #16
    I said lower TDPs, not 10-20W. The transition will be progressive. You can't suddenly jump from 45W CPU to 15W without significant losses in performance. For desktops, the TDP will be the same according to reports so in all likelihood, that will apply to laptops as well.

    Clocks speeds (or TDP) don't affect the battery life that much due to SpeedStep. Your 2.8GHz and 2.4GHz CPU can run at the same speed when idling to save battery life. Tri-Gate might though but unless we see it in action, all we got is Intel's hyping.
     
  17. Erasmus macrumors 68030

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  18. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Ivy Bridge is a 22nm derivative of the Sandy Bridge architecture, and so will share the same TDP ranges. Nothing new there; however, Ivy Bridge will introduce configurable TDP. That should allow OEMs to build ultra-thin notebooks with performance comparable to higher TDP Sandy Bridge parts.

    Being a brand new architecture based on 22nm process, Haswell takes this to the next level and more while reducing TDP ranges across the board. In the case of notebooks, down from 35-45W to 10-20W.

    So, no sudden jump, but no loss in performance either.
     
  19. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #19
    Your post is still speculative though. Nothing is known until Intel announces something and the performance is unknown until review sites do tests.
     
  20. fibrizo macrumors 6502

    fibrizo

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    #20
    Also we should finally get native USB 3.0 support with ivy bridge. While the idea of thunderbolt is nice, it's more of a deserted wasteland so far in terms of actual products.
     
  21. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Not really. We don't have hard numbers for Intel's configurable TDP yet, but everything else is based on information they've released so far.

    I think by the time Haswell is released in 2013, the MBP line will have morphed into the MBA's body. The conditions are right. By then, we'll have really fast low TDP processors, mechanical hard drives will be gone in favor of SSDs, and optical drives will be gone in favor of removable memory cards and the Cloud.
     
  22. anotherdave macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Better graphics

    The biggest difference I've heard of between Sandy and Ivy Bridge is that Ivy Bridge will have RAM added to the graphics chip.

    http://semiaccurate.com/2010/12/29/intel-puts-gpu-memory-ivy-bridge/
     
  23. dusk007 macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Intel said they will offer one or two Ivy Chips with these packaged chips but it is more or less a prototype. They aren't sure if it will even make it into any RTM parts. They consider it only a testrun for Haswell and if everything works out it might already show up in Ivy but people shouldn't really expect it till Haswell.
     

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