Ivy Bridge processors are fabricated on a 22nm (nanometer) die shrink as opposed to Sandy Bridge's 32nm process technology, and Ivy Bridge processors are backward compatible with the Sandy Bridge platform, enabling the chips to use the same motherboards as Sandy Bridge processors.
Among the many new features in Ivy Bridge processors are Intel's new Tri-Gate transistor technology, PCI Express 3.0 support, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt support, and Graphics Direc X 11 and Open CL 1.1 support. Collectively, these new features and process technology are expected to offer improved performance over Sandy Bridge in the range of 20% for CPU performance and 30% or more for on-board graphics performance.
Ivy Bridge processors debuted in April 2012, with 13 quad-core processors released at that time for high-end desktop, laptop and all-in-one computers. Dual-core Ivy Bridge processors for ultrabooks and lower end computers are expected to follow the initial release in early June.