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In technology terms, tick-tock typically refers to Intel's model of releasing new processor families each year, with the "tick" applying to processors fabricated on a smaller die shrink and the "tock" representing processors that is based on a new processor microarchitecture.  The "tick" processors feature enhanced performance and energy efficiency on a smaller, more refined silicon chip, while the "tock" processors typically optimize the value of the increased number of transistors available from the "tick" release and also integrate the latest technology updates available.

Examples of Intel's tick-tock model include Sandy Bridge ("tock") and Ivy Bridge ("tick") and the upcoming Haswell ("tock"), Broadwell ("tick"), Skylake ("tock") and Skymont ("tick") processors.

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