ivy bridge skus Ivy Bridge to have 77W max TDP, backwards and forwards compatibility explained

A fair few new details of Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs and accompanying platforms have appeared over on a Chinese forum and although we'd take this with a pinch of salt, the roadmaps do look like the real deal. If proven to be correct, then we're looking at a peak TDP of 77W for the high-end models, down from the current 95W for Sandy Bridge.

A fair few new details of Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs and accompanying platforms have appeared over on a Chinese forum and although we'd take this with a pinch of salt, the roadmaps do look like the real deal. If proven to be correct, then we're looking at a peak TDP of 77W for the high-end models, down from the current 95W for Sandy Bridge.

If you have a look at the picture below, you'll see a rather complex diagram of what we can expect late Q1/early Q2 next year. On the far left and top you'll find Intel's internal market segmentations and as always the interesting stuff is happening towards the top. There will be unlocked K SKU's just like there are with Sandy Bridge and this in itself isn't a big surprise, but Intel's shrink to 22nm alongside with its new "3D transistors" is obviously helping the company push down its TDP's quite significantly, as all the high-end Ivy Bridge CPUs top out at 77W TDP.

ivy bridge skus Ivy Bridge to have 77W max TDP, backwards and forwards compatibility explained

Moving down a step we find quad core 65W S SKU's and 45W T SKU's just like what's available for Sandy Bridge, as well as a 35W dual core SKU. As such, the low power parts haven't become that much more power efficient, at last not until you move down to the Core i3's which are now all 55W or 35W in the case of the T SKU. Interestingly, when we move further down the food chain so to speak, there's only a single standard Wattage Pentium Ivy Bridge SKU and one “power optimized” SKU to start with and it gains DDR3 1600MHz memory support, along with the rest of the Ivy Bridge chips. The remainder of Intel's Pentium and all of its Celeron chips will apparently remain as Sandy Bridge based CPUs until sometime in 2013, at least according to the slide.

As for actual CPU SKU's, well, it seems like most things will stay much the same as they are today, although with the first digit in the model names being a 3 instead of a 2, except for the Pentiums and Celerons that are expected to get a fourth digit in front which will be a 2. As such we'll have the Core i7 37xx, Core i5 35xx, 34xx and 33xx, Core i3 31xx and finally Pentium G2xxx for now.

ivy bridge processor numbers Ivy Bridge to have 77W max TDP, backwards and forwards compatibility explained

As for backwards and forwards compatibility, well, things are a little bit complicated. All Sandy Bridge CPU's are according to Intel, guaranteed to work on all the new 7-series chipsets, so if you want a new motherboard for your old CPU, then you don't need to worry. However, if you want to use a current motherboard with an Ivy Bridge CPU, then things get a little trickier. For starters, the Q67, Q65 and B65 chipsets will not support Ivy Bridge and if we're correct, this has to do with lack of firmware space. This might once again only be limited to Intel's motherboards though, as the company didn't put large enough flash chips on its motherboards.

ivy bridge chipset compatibility Ivy Bridge to have 77W max TDP, backwards and forwards compatibility explained

As for the Z68, P67, H67 and H61 chipsets, they're all compatible, in theory. As we mentioned before, this requires a UEFI update and in this case there must be enough space available to flash Intel's ME8L (L for Legacy) UEFI code to the motherboards. As we've pointed out in the past, this might not be a straight flash due to various reasons so far only known to Intel and its partners. Only time will tell what will be possible and what won't be, but this is clearly a hurdle that the motherboard manufacturers are going to have to deal with before they can guarantee Ivy Bridge support for their Sandy 6-series motherboards, especially as Intel won't have its ME8 UEFI code ready until early next year. According to roadmaps we've seen, Intel itself won't have its ME8 UEFI updates ready for the 6-series motherboards until sometime after the launch of Ivy Bridge.

Source: Chiphell