updated 12:10 pm EDT, Mon April 9, 2012
Intel Z77 to power Ivy Bridge PCs
The first ingredient to Intel's Ivy Bridge launch manifested on Monday through its Z77 desktop mainboard chipset. Better known as Panther Point, it can use existing Core chips made using Sandy Bridge but is designed to take advantage of the imminent new chips. The design is Intel's first with native USB 3.0 support and can take as many as four of the faster, 5Gbps standard without needing an outside chip.
The design also supports PCI Express 3.0 to provide more bandwidth to faster video cards and other high-end peripherals. The number of lanes remains the same, but new support lets companies add their own chips to boost the number of lanes, such as for multi-card graphics setups where every slot may benefit from sending more data.
Other additions bring support for low-power DDR3 for slim form factor desktops, much higher-clocked (thoguh still dual-channel) DDR3-2800 memory, and LucidLogix technology to help properly sync any graphics chip with the display to reduce lag and visual artifacts cause from issues like sync.
Ivy Bridge itself is unofficially expected to ship at the end of April and will introduce a smaller, more efficient 22-nanometer process, much faster integrated graphics, and other improvements.