AnandTech has their hands on a second-gen Ultrabook reference design and they’ve subjected it to a number of tests. They paint a good picture of the changes you will see from first-generation Ultrabooks (Sandy Bridge) to second-gen Ultrabooks (Ivy Bridge). If you’re interested in reading about benchmarks, thermals, and CPU details, and gaming performance, step inside and have a look at what AnandTech has revealed to get a glimpse of what you can expect from the next generation of Ultrabooks.
Today Intel lifted restrictions on talking about their Ivy Bridge Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processors which will power the next generation of Ultrabooks. Chippy breaks down the lineup here, and AnandTech does the same here if you’re looking for technical details.
Also revealed are extra details on the chipsets that will be used in upcoming Ultrabooks which you can see here (courtesy AnandTech):
|Intel 7-Series Mobile Chipsets|
|USB Ports (USB 3.0)||14 (4)||14 (4)||10 (4)||14 (4)||12 (4)|
|PCIe 2.0 Lanes||8||8||4||8||8|
|SATA Ports (6Gb/s)||6 (2)||6 (2)||4 (1)||6 (2)||6 (2)|
|Smart Response Technology & RAID||X||X||X||X|
|vPro & Active Management Technology||X||X|
|Small Business Advantage||X||X||X||X|
The UM77 is the prime candidate for Ultrabooks thanks to it having the lowest TDP. Ultrabooks going for small size and light weight (11.6″ screens usually) might also be interested by the QS77 which trades and extra 0.6 for a smaller package size.
Intel send AnandTech a prototype Ivy Bridge Ultrabook with the following specs:
|Intel Ivy Bridge “PUB-RD” Ultrabook Prototype Specifications|
(Dual-core 1.80-2.80GHz, 3MB L3, 22nm, 17W)
|Memory||4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1600 Samsung|
|Graphics||Intel HD 4000
(16 EUs, up to 1150MHz)
|Display||13.3″ WLED Glossy 16:9 900p (1600×900)
(CPT, model unknown—COR17DB)
|Storage||240GB Intel 520 SSD
(Note: Has new “lower power” firmware)
|Networking||802.11n WiFi (Intel Advanced-N 6235)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel)
Capable of 5.1 digital output (Mini-HDMI)
60W Max AC Adapter
1 x USB 3.0
AC Power Connection
|Right Side||Memory Card Reader
1 x USB 3.0
|Back Side||2x Exhaust vents|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Dimensions||12.97″ x 8.78″ x 0.63″ (WxDxH)
(329mm x 223mm x 16mm)
|Weight||3.21 lbs (1.46kg)|
Flash reader (MMC/MS/SD)
They’ve got a gallery of the unit here, but this is a reference design that won’t go to market in this particular form, so visuals are not exactly important.
What is important is the benchmarking. AnandTech ran the Ivy Bridge Ultrabook prototype against a number of systems, including the Ivy Bridge equipped Asus UX21A. What’s interesting is that the UX21A (11.6″) has an i7-3517U CPU which should be faster when compared to the i5-3427U equipped prototype (13.3″). However, in a number of tests the prototype actually pulls ahead, most likely due to better thermal design allowing it to stay at its top speed for a longer period of time — note that thermal design is actually quite important when it comes to performance and is not just a consideration for how hot the computer is on your lap.
While there are some subtle CPU and battery life increases between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, the biggest difference is definitely between the former’s HD 3000 integrated graphics and the latter’s HD 4000. Intel has been pushing that HD 4000 increases graphic performance by nearly 2x over HD 3000. This doesn’t translate to a perfect 2x increase in framerate, as the CPU is still involved in the process, but HD 4000 is definitely better and is capable of running modern games at playable (not optimal) rates given the right adjustments to settings. You’ll still want a discrete GPU if you intend to play modern games, but HD 4000 on Ivy Bridge will likely do well if you’re happy to play some of the less intensive last-generation titles — like Portal 2 which ran at a very respectable 52.2 FPS average on the Ivy Bridge prototype.
There’s lots of good info and detailed tests over at AnandTech’s full article and if you’re interested in Ivy Bridge specifics, I definitely recommend giving it a read.
If you just want to know what to expect from Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks, AnandTech has this to say:
So just what does Ivy Bridge bring to the party that you couldn’t get with Sandy Bridge Ultrabooks? In a word: more. More CPU performance—the i5-3427U we tested today is typically close to i5-2410M performance, and often 20% faster—or more—compared to Sandy Bridge Core i7 Ultrabooks. More GPU performance: HD 4000 in IVB ULV is generally faster than HD 3000 in SNB standard voltage CPUs. And you get all that with similar or slightly better battery life. You also get less: far less bulk and weight to carry around. We’re basically looking at the performance of a laptop that used to weigh six pounds in a three pound chassis. If you’re someone who carries their laptop around a lot, an Ultrabook would make for an excellent companion—whether for business, school, or some other use. They’re light, fast enough, and get great battery life, and they’re small enough to fit in a purse or a small laptop bag—no more giant laptop carry ons, thank you very much!
We’re looking forward to subjecting Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks to our own tests and will likely have our hands on them very soon. Stay tuned to use here at UltrabookNews for lots of upcoming second-generation Ultrabook announcements surrounding Computex.
For a list of Ivy Bridge devices that we’re already tracking, see here (this list will continue to populate as we see more devices announced over the next week!).