By PowerBuy // 26 June 2012 // Related Categories: Tips

Intel's latest revision of its processor lines, the 3rd generation of its Core processors, is also known by its "Ivy Bridge" codename. These were announced with the usual hoopla about how they would change computing experiences through sheer power.

Don't believe the hype. This isn’t because the newest processors aren't faster and better than the old ones, because that is still the point of them; it's more a factor of how Intel works its updates, which it refers to as the "tick-tock" cycle, like that of a clock.

"Tocks" are major changes to the underlying architecture, and that was last year’s “Sandy Bridge” model. "Ticks" are changes to the manufacturing processes -- typically shrinking the die used for making processors, which is what Ivy Bridge is mainly about. There are changes on Ivy Bridge processors that do mix things up, but the most prominent of them is an upgrade to the graphics-processing engine on the CPU. That's the kind of thing that would probably have meant buying an external GPU. The biggest benefit is likely to be with notebooks where that sort of upgrade is either impossible or very costly.

Intel's claims on speed are also worth looking at. While it can claim that the new Ivy Bridge processors are up to "80% faster" than some systems, that's a comparison against a three year old Core 2 Duo system. Which is fine if you're doing a standard business upgrade having written off a laptop for tax, but then you're just as likely to be buying a new system anyway. At that point, the current Sandy Bridge architecture is also suitable -- especially for general business purposes -- and is being run out cheaply as vendors switch over to new Ivy Bridge systems. You still get a good chunk of the performance upgrade -- but at a much cheaper price.

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