Intel purposely carries over a lot of the technology it introduced with Sandy Bridge, allowing the company to focus more intently on a smoother transition from 32 to 22 nm manufacturing. Thus, the capabilities of an Ivy Bridge-based IA core are very much similar to the prior generation.
Each core still hosts 32 KB of L1 data and L1 instruction cache, along with a 256 KB L2 cache. Moreover, quad-core models like the Core i7-3770K share up to 8 MB of last-level cache. Latencies appear very similar, indicating comparable cache bandwidth as Sandy Bridge.
Intel claims it made subtle adjustments to the IA cores, however, that improve performance in certain situations. Company representatives didn’t go into much detail about core architecture improvements at last year’s IDF, mentioning only that there are about half a dozen features in the core and another six or so more in the memory controller/cache that accelerate IA workloads. Fortunately, it’s easy enough for us to run a handful of single-threaded tests with Turbo Boost disabled to see how Core i7-3770K compares to Core i7-2700K, both operating at 3.5 GHz.
Ivy Bridge takes about three seconds off of our Lame, iTunes, and PDF creation metrics. That’s decidedly less impressive than what Sandy Bridge did compared to Nehalem—but again, it’s a result we expected.
The bottom line for enthusiasts is that Ivy Bridge’s IPC-oriented improvements alone are not compelling enough to warrant an upgrade from Sandy Bridge chips running at similar frequencies.
Intel does incorporate a pair of security-oriented features that software developers will be able to exploit moving forward: a Digital Random Number Generator instruction and Supervisor Mode Execution Protection.
Designed to be standards-compliant, the DRNG’s purpose is to provide a high-quality and high-performance source of entropy—the measure of a cryptographic key’s unpredictability. As a result, an application can exploit the DRNG, and get reliably good random numbers at up to 2-3 Gb/s. Intel makes the instruction available to operating system- and user-level code at all privilege levels.
The other new feature, abbreviated SMEP, attempts to thwart escalation of privilege attacks that seek access to resources normally protected from a less privileged ring. Simply, it prevents the execution of supervisor mode code in user-mode memory pages.
- Ivy Bridge: Was It Worth The Wait?
- The Ivy Bridge Core: I Think I Know You
- HD Graphics 4000: The Plus In Intel’s Tick+
- HD Graphics 4000: Performance In 3DMark 11 And Batman
- HD Graphics 4000: Performance In Skyrim And WoW
- HD Graphics 4000: Native Compute Support
- Quick Sync: A Secret Weapon, Refined
- Platform Compatibility: Are Motherboard Vendors Ready?
- Overclocking Ivy Bridge: Core i7-3770K Is A Mixed Bag
- Ivy Bridge Memory Scaling
- Test Setup And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: PCMark 7
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark 11
- Benchmark Results: Sandra 2012 SP3
- Benchmark Results: Adobe CS 5.5
- Benchmark Results: Content Creation
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: File Compression
- Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Batman: Arkham City
- Benchmark Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Benchmark Results: World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm
- Power Consumption And Efficiency
- How Much Faster Is Core i7-3770K Than -2700K And i5-2550K?
- An Evolution That Makes Sense, But Doesn't Impress