In the chip redesign, the company implemented a new graphics subsystem with twice the number of transistors that allowed it to boost graphics performance, Skaugen said. The new HD 4000 and HD 2500 graphics cores support input of up to three monitors at the same time.
The Thunderbolt interconnect will also start reaching PCs via motherboards supporting the Ivy Bridge platform. Thunderbolt, introduced over a year ago, is a high-speed connector technology to move data between computers and peripherals, and is mostly found on Apple's Macintosh PCs. Thunderbolt laptops are expected to come later this year from PC makers like Lenovo, Acer and Asus.
Intel has also implemented the new QuickSync 2.0 on Ivy Bridge chips for quicker transcoding of specific video formats. The new technology can transcode video 23 times faster than a three-year-old PC, Skaugen said. The new Quick Sync technology is twice faster than the same technology introduced in last year's Sandy Bridge Core microprocessors.
The company also introduced new features to keep PCs secure at the operating system level. OS Key and OS Guard features will provide hardware-level security to prevent malware attacks and will be available on PCs running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 or Linux operating systems, Skaugen said. Intel has also implemented a new antitheft technology to lock down stolen PCs and the new version will be able to unlock systems via SMS.
There are some hardware-level improvements as well. Data will shuffle inside PCs a lot quicker, thanks to on-chip support from the new PCI-Express 3.0, the successor to the current PCI-Express 2.0 data transfer protocols. PCIe 3.0 can move data at 8 gigatransfers per second, which is faster than PCIe 2.0, which had a speed of 5 gigatransfers per second.
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