Intel is expected to launch its next generation of processors, dubbed Ivy Bridge, on April 23. They will take over from the current Sandy Bridge range, and will start appearing in laptops from May.
According to DigiTimes, Intel has brought forward the date of the Ivy Bridge series launch slightly, from April 29 to April 23. This won't mean laptops featuring the new chips will start flying out instantly, but Ivy Bridge computers are expected to start appearing in May. Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo are reportedly all signed up to bring Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks to market this year.
Ivy Bridge uses a 22nm microarchitecture, which will make its processors far more efficient than the current 32nm Sandy Bridge chips. The range will also introduce Intel's new HD 4000 integrated graphics solution - Sandy Bridge uses HD 3000 graphics.
Onlookers said the promotional activity was impressive, but confusing
According to NotebookCheck, benchmarks show that the new GPU is a massive improvement, showing an "up to 84 per cent" improvement. It won't make your Ultrabook capable of cranking out Skyrim at full settings, and 60fps, but should enable playing games a couple of years old at respectable frame rates.
Intel exec Kirk Skaugen has predicted that 2012 will see Ultrabook prices drop significantly. During the Intel Developer Forum in China, he said that sub-$700 should arrive by this summer. Whether running Ivy Bridge chips or the older Sandy Bridge type, this would renew Ultrabooks' chances against the draw of the Apple MacBook Air