Intel's Ivy Bridge chip architecture may have its launch timing narrowed down based on an updated roadmap leaked out Wednesday. Where a previous copy had only given the 22 nanometer desktop processors a vague first-half 2011 target, MyDrivers' new version narrowed the release down to a "March-April" timeframe. The schedule wasn't strictly a delay but would be later than Intel's usual tendency to have shipping designs ready in or near January.
Publicly, Intel had planned to start shipping Ivy Bridge in late 2011, although its usual practices would still have meant a more likely early 2012 release in actual computers. Current timing might mean Ivy Bridge shipping only at the start of next year to meet the new goal.
Notebook processors don't yet have a corresponding roadmap and are eitehr likely to follow in lock-step with the desktops or else sit on another schedule.
The launch could leave most computer builders leaning on the existing, 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture for longer than usual. Intel may have been aware of this for awhile as it has been planning an interim upgrade, Sandy Bridge E, with more cores and larger cache sizes. System builders like Apple, Dell, and HP, who are often dependent on Intel's release schedule to dictate their own strategies, may have to wait later than this year.
Beyond the shrink to the smaller, more efficient 22nm process and the resulting boosts to clock speeds, Ivy Bridge adds official USB 3.0, PCI Express 3.0, and a new graphics chipset capable of supporting both DirectX 11 (OpenGL 4) and OpenCL 1.1.