Now that Ivy Bridge is out it's time to take a look at how Intel's latest tick performs.
AnandTech claims Ivy Bridge is quite possibly the strongest tick Intel has ever put forth, it gives a mild bump in CPU performance but a very significant increase in integrated graphics performance. Anand says it's not enough to temp existing Sandy Bridge owners, but a great upgrade for users who missed the upgrade last year.
Intel has done its best to make this tick more interesting than most. Ivy Bridge is being used as the introduction vehicle to Intel's 22nm process. In turn you get a cooler running CPU than Sandy Bridge (on the order of 20 - 30W under load), but you do give up a couple hundred MHz on the overclocking side. While I had no issues getting my 3770K up to 4.6GHz on the stock cooler, Sandy Bridge will likely be the better overclocker for most.
With Ivy Bridge and its 7-series chipset we finally get USB 3.0 support. In another month or so we'll also get Thunderbolt support (although you'll have to hold off on buying a 7-series motherboard until then if you want it). This platform is turning out to be everything Sandy Bridge should have been.
The Tech Report also writes that Ivy Bridge offers fairly nice improvements on the desktop platform, but notes that it's most certain going to mak a bigger impact on the mobile market.
As the plot shows, the Core i7-3770K is just a little bit faster than the 2600K at essentially the same price. That's progress, but mild progress, on the value front. The real gains with Ivy Bridge come in terms of power use, with the 18W reduction in peak power draw and the accompanying improvements in power efficiency. Don't say I didn't tell you!