Intel to Launch First 'Ivy Bridge' Chips April 23: Report

Intel is expecting the new 22nm chips to help fuel demand for Ultrabooks and low-power microservers.

Intel officials reportedly will launch the first of their next-generation €œIvy Bridge€ chips April 23, moving up the expected date by almost a week.

An unnamed source told Cnet that the first Ivy Bridge chips will be quad-core versions, which will be followed later by the most power-efficient chips aimed at such devices as Ultrabooks€”very thin and light notebooks that offer features similar to tablets€”and MacBook Air systems from Apple.

Other models of Ivy Bridge chips will launch in a staggered schedule after that, according to what the story referred to as an €œindustry source familiar with Intel€™s plans.€

The 22nm Ivy Bridges chips are the next generation of Intel technology, following the current Sandy Bridge architecture. Intel executives have boasted that the Ivy Bridge architecture will not only offer a bump in performance, but also will come with significantly improved graphics capabilities and power efficiency.

They will be the first processors to feature the giant chip maker€™s Tri-Gate transistor architecture, a 3D structure that is designed to help boost the chip€™s performance while driving down electrical leakage and power consumption. The chips also will support USB 3.0.

Intel executives have said the Ivy Bridge architecture will boost chip performance by as much as 37 percent, energy efficiency by 50 percent and graphics performance by as much as 60 percent, with support for DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1.

Energy efficiency continues to be a growing point of interest for both server and PC makers. Intel officials expect the Ivy Bridge chips to fuel adoption of the Ultrabook form factor, which they first detailed in May 2011. A number of OEMs, including Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba, already have rolled out Ultrabooks powered by Sandy Bridge chips.

However, Intel executives say as many as 75 Ultrabook designs are in the pipeline€”most of them powered by Ivy Bridge chips€”and will start hitting store shelves in the spring and summer, in time for the important back-to-school shopping season.

In addition, Intel officials expect the Ivy Bridge architecture in server chips to enable the company to become a larger player in the growing market for low-power microservers, which are aimed at such areas as cloud and Web environments.

Intel initially had set the Ivy Bridge launch for the second quarter, but comments made by Sean Maloney, executive vice president and chairman of Intel China, suggested that the rollout would be delayed until June.

However, other Intel executives clarified that the comments were not suggesting that all Ivy Bridge chips would be delayed, and speculation later surfaced that the first of the chips would roll out April 29.