Hacks working for CPU-World have been given a briefing by the suits at Chipzilla about the performance of its latest Ivy Bridge CPU.
Apparently it is all down to something that Intel has worked out called the Tick Tock regime, which appears to have been developed by the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. In Oxford. It is a cadence. It is also the clock ticking and tocking in the belly of the pirate, Captain Hook, in Peter Pan.
Traditionally, on a tick, Intel brings in a new process which will give a small performance boost, and use less power. A Tock introduces a new architecture, effectively new circuitry, using the now established manufacturing process and a cup of tea with the Mad Hatter.
This year we are at a tick, and Ivy Bridge is largely a die shrink of Sandy Bridge of a smaller process. Unlike a normal tick, Intel has also improved the integrated graphic core, which sounds suspiciously like a tock carried out behind a tick of the main processor core.
According to tests performed with an i7-3770K at stock settings, it has been possible to set the thing from 2600K to a 3770K at 4.5 GHz. In Sysmark 2012, the i7-3770K showed an overall performance boost of 7.5 per cent. Sysmark 2007 indicated an overall performance boost of 10 per cent. Across a selection of eight CPU tasks, Ivy Bridge shows an improvement of between five percent and 15 percent, averaging out at 10 percent.
But in the graphics performance things were much better. The GPU showed a boost between 20 percent and 50 percent averaging out at 33.8 per cent. A single GPU compute test shows an improvement of around 225 per cent thanks to DirectX 11 support introduced with this generation.
On the power side, the voltage that Ivy Bridge needed to reach 4.8GHz, and the core temp when fully loaded. When it was idling, having a fag outside the building, at 4.8GHz, the voltage required was 0.94V, and under load it only jumped to 1.31V.
But the problem which might slow the chip down is the temperature. CPUID Hardware Monitor indicated the CPU reached over 100C when running Linpack, and around 90C when running Prime 95. This means that it is possible to make a cup of tea on top of Ivy Bridge and still run your favourite game. It also means that people with standard cooling systems may not be able to easily hit the same clock as Sandy Bridge. At least they will not need so much juice.
Ivy Bridge looks like it responds well to extreme cooling systems. Anyway we will see for ourselves soon. Ivy Bridge will hit the retail market from the beginning of next month and we will know if our Tick has Tocked.