Intel Ivy Bridge launches today

Intel 3rd Generation Core
The best real-world CPUs around today

Today sees the launch of Intel's latest line of quad-core desktop processors, code-named Ivy Bridge.

They will collectively be known as the 3rd Generation of Intel Core Microarchitecture. Though we've got to say calling the new Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K 3rd Gen seems a little disingenuous if you ask us.

Going by the traditional Intel Tick-Tock iteration process this is purely a production process shrink of its last architecture. That was the 32nm Sandy Bridge, it of the i5 2500K fame, and this then is purely a shrink down to use Intel's new 22nm Tri-Gate transistor tech.

Though Intel is claiming the serious upgrade it has done to the processor graphics in Ivy Bridge makes it more of a Tick plus, and therefore deserves the 3rd Gen moniker.

Intel Ivy Bridge

Despite the production process shrinkage, we are getting no extra clockspeed and no more cores over and above the quad-core chips we had in the last generation of Intel CPUs.

None of which is to say these are bad chips, oh no, these are the best CPUs on the market right now. Well, the best real-world CPUs anyway.

There is, of course, the hexcore behemoth of the Core i7 3960X and the crazy eight-core Xeon E5-2687W which you can just about class as desktop chips, but they're far beyond the wallets of us mere mortals.

We've had the whole new setup - new chips, new chipsets and whole new machines – in our labs for a while now and we've gone to town on them.

Intel Ivy Bridge

Intel 3rd Generation Core Microarchitecture

Intel Core i7 3770K review

Intel Core i5 3570K review

Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H review

Palicomp Alpha Detonator review

While we are definitely impressed with what they can do, they don't really represent much of an improvement over the last generation.

In that Intel has been spoiling us with its last few breakthrough generations of chips.

What we can say though is that even if really don't need to upgrade from an existing Sandy Bridge chip, the Z77 chipset will get the most from your current hardware.

We stuck an ageing Core i5 2600K in Asus' Sabertooth Z77 and it happily clocked up, stably, to over 5.1GHz. The Core i7 3770K could only manage a still impressive 4.8GHz.

The other sad thing is the chips wont be on sale for another few days, with April 28 looking a likely time for them to be released into the channel.