While most of the processor focus at this week's Intel Developer Forum concerned the Q1 2011 release of Sandy Bridge, Intel is already well along in developing its next platform of chips. Dubbed Ivy Bridge, these will be manufactured using a 22nm process compared to Sandy Bridge's 32nm fabrication process.
Not much is known about Ivy Bridge, though Intel CEO Paul Otellini said it's "on track for delivery in the second half of next year." Considering how quickly that comes on the heels of the major Sandy Bridge rollout, the first Ivy Bridge processors may be released for high-end and enthusiasts markets first, though that's just a guess at this point. As with previous CPU shrinkings, the move to 22nm will likely mean better performance and greater energy efficiency, though how much of either can't be guessed at since Sandy Bridge processors haven't been thoroughly tested yet.
Here's one thing we do know: If Ivy Bridge does ship in the second half of 2011, it will put Intel way ahead of AMD. AMD will be bringing its first generation of 32nm Fusion chips to market sometime in 2011; in comparison, Intel will not only have flooded the market with its 32nm chips by then, but also be moving onto a 22nm fabrication process that AMD won't match until 2012 at the earliest. That doesn't necessarily mean that all of Intel's new chips will lap AMD's in terms of the price/performance, but it does mean that all that heat Ivy Bridge should save will be sent across the back of AMD's neck.
[Via X-bit Labs]