Intel may be treading through dark waters now, but it doesn't mean their Sandy Bridge-based tech is not just pure awesome sauce. Ivy Bridge is the next step in their tick-tock model with expected release dates of next year. The architecture will be mostly unchanged, with the most significant change being a die-shrink from 32nm to 22nm which will result in smaller chips and much better performance per watt.
A few more improvements should include a DirectX 11-capable graphics core as well as second generation QuickSync video technology. On-board controllers also get some spit-shine with native support for 1600MHz DDR3 and PCIe 3.0. Supposedly all of these changes will add up to a performance increase of around 20 - 30-percent when compared to 2011-based Core processors.
For early adopters, you're not left out. The new processors are expected to continue the LGA-1155 based interface making them compatible with current boards after a BIOS update.
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