Apr. 19  2012

Ivy Bridge's GPU is 2.25 times larger as Sandy's

 by Hans de Vries

     UBM Tech Insides starts its analyses of Intel's 22nm process


UBM Tech-Insights has recently started its analyses of Intel's new 22nm process used in the production of Ivy Bridge. Some early results are already made public. We eagerly await more results and we also hope to see some 22nm process analyses from Dick James when he gets his hands on an Ivy Bridge sample..

Interesting is the die size of the latest E1 stepping which is the one which will go on sale later this month. The surprise is that it is somewhat larger as earlier steppings as shown by Intel itself.  In the image you can say the die photo shown a while ago while the one in the middle is the die used by UBM. The analyst mentions a die size of 170 mm2 while earlier reports estimated 160 mm2.

The picture from UBM shows the upper layer of the chip which is enough to figure out whereabouts of the most important units.  It is clear that the GPU has further increased in size compared with earlier versions. All in all, The GPU-CPU ratio has now increased to 75%

Clearly, Sandy Bridge's GPU performance is generally acknowledged to be wholly inadequate. The significant increase shows that Intel has understood this. Some of the increase will improve quality while the rest should increase performance. The graphics performance of AMD's new Trinity APU will still be out of reach but it will be interesting to see how both compare in real world performance. The reviews of both will be out in the coming weeks.


 The lower layers with the finfets and first metalization layers


     Side by side compare:  Ivy Bridge's GPU versus Sandy's


Ivy Bridge versus Sandy Bridge


    Update 2012-04-24.  Package with the larger Ivy Bridge die?
Ivy Bridge HD4000
Even after the launch of Ivy Bridge on the 23th of April there is still nothing official. Intel marketing material still shows a different die as the one which will actually be sold to the public. UBM Tech-Insights used an 3.3GHz Core i5-3550 die for it's ongoing analyses.

So Intel sells a die which is significantly different as the earlier Ivy Bridge engineering samples, and also different as the die shown in its own marketing material. What is going on here?

The aspect ratio of the production die fits perfectly with a mystery processor which was  assumed to be a very early Haswell sample
several months ago.

The die size as determined from the package is 8.4 x 21.8 mm,
slightly larger as the 8.1 x 21.0 mm inferred from the UBM area estimation. This would bring the die size of the production version
of Ivy Bridge to 183 mm2.

    Update 2012-05-02.  Die photos from UBM Tech Inside and Chipworks compared
                            Bridge different IGPU
Here we compare photos of two different actual dies taken by two professional semiconductor process analyses companies.

The larger die at the left is a photo from UBM Tech-Insights used an 3.3GHz Core i5-3550 die.  This processor has HD2500 graphics  according to Intel's website but that tells us only how much of the graphics hardware on the die is enabled.
The photos at the right are taken by ChipWorks. They are using a 3.3GHz Xeon E3-1230V2 die which has no graphics enabled.

The extra die space of the UBM photo corresponds accurately to two extra rows of graphics processing elements which would bring the total number to 24 processing elements instead of the 16 ones visible on the ChipWorks die photo.