Intel officially launched its new Ivy Bridge processor lineup on Sunday, opening up the possibility for iMac and MacBook Pro refreshes. The processor line inclues several quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 chips that offer a significant performance improvement and lower power consumption.
The new processors use what Intel called 3D Tri-Gate technology to stack transistors on top of each other instead of spreading them out in flat plane like other chips. According to Intel, the chips offer about 20 percent more processor performance while requiring 20 percent less power.
Computers that use the chip’s integrated graphics processing unit will see a performance boost compared to previous processors, too. The new integrated GPU can handle 4K resolution video from professional cameras, and real-time HD video conferencing, too.
The new Core i5 and i7 processors include built-in USB 3.0 support, which will make it easier and cheaper for computer makers to include the faster USB standard on their systems. With Apple moving to Thunderbolt, however, new Macs could stick with USB 2.0.
Intel’s new Ivy Bridge chips are on their way to computer makers, so expect to see desktop and laptop computers in the coming weeks. As usual, Apple hasn’t revealed its plans for the new chips.