Intel, AMD Readying Next-Generation Chips: Reports

Intel is expected to launch the first of its "Ivy Bridge" processors at the end of April, with AMD following with its first "Trinity" APUs in May.

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices reportedly are preparing to launch next-generation chips over the next few weeks.

Intel initially was expected to roll out its new 22-nanometer €œIvy Bridge€ chips this spring, but earlier this year, executives, citing production problems, said they were delaying the release until June. However, recent reports say that the giant chip maker will roll out the first Ivy Bridge Core processors€”for both desktop and mobile devices€”later in April, with more coming the following months.

The Ivy Bridge chips are expected to offer users a performance bump over the current €œSandy Bridge€ processors, but the real enhancements will be around the graphics capabilities and power efficiency. Among other features, the Ivy Bridge chips will be the first offering Intel€™s 3D Tri-Gate transistor architecture, which will offer a 50 percent cut in power consumption over current chips, according to Intel.

Intel officials also are looking to the Ivy Bridge processors to add fuel to their Ultrabook push. There are currently more than two dozen Ultrabook models on the market, from vendors like Acer, Asus, Dell and Lenovo, powered by Sandy Bridge chips. However, Intel executives have said that the Ivy Bridge processors will herald in the second wave of Ultrabooks, and in a post on Intel€™s ChipShot site, blogger Becky Emmett said there are 10 more Ultrabooks that have been announced and another 75 designs coming later in 2012.

Intel this week kicked off a massive advertising and marketing campaign€”said to cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars€”around Ultrabooks. The campaign will offer everything from television ads to interactive Websites.

For its part, AMD is expected to launch the first of its €œTrinity€ accelerated processing units (APUs) for PCs May 15. According to several reports, the first of the hybrid CPU-GPU chips€”based on AMD€™s new Piledriver core€”will be mobile APUs for notebooks, with desktop chips coming later.

Trinity will succeed the current €œLlano€ processors, which AMD officials have said have been the most successful product launch in company history. The new APUs reportedly will have better performance and graphics than the current chips, which are based on the Bulldozer core. The Trinity chips also are expected to run at higher frequencies.

Like larger rival Intel, AMD official are expecting some of the Trinity chips to fuel their push into very thin and light notebooks, what some company executives have referred to as €œultrathins.€