If you've recently upgraded to one of Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, there's good news and bad news: while the replacement Ivy Bridge series is already on the cards, Intel has confirmed it will be fully compatible with existing motherboards and chipsets.
In a cross-compatibility notification leaked to VR-Zone, Intel confirmed that the Ivy Bridge line will be a simple process shrink to 22nm - retaining the same pin layout and socket size as its current Sandy Bridge processor range.
The company has also announced that the chipset for Ivy Bridge, codenamed Panther Point, will be cross-compatible with the existing Cougar Point chipset - which will hopefully have the little SATA issue resolved by then - allowing manufacturers to choose whichever chipset they like for their motherboards.
It's good news for those who like to have the latest and greatest in their rigs. With full compatibility between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, users can upgrade to the latest processor without having to replace their motherboards. Likewise, those who need a new motherboard can buy a Panther Point model and reuse their existing Sandy Bridge chips.
While Intel has promised full compatibility between the two processor generations, there is just one caveat to be aware of: to accommodate microcode changes in new processor revisions, older motherboards will likely require a BIOS update prior to the upgrade to Ivy Bridge. If your particular motherboard manufacturer is lagging behind with its updates, Ivy Bridge could still be a no-go.
So far, Intel hasn't announced an official launch date for the Ivy Bridge line. Rumour has it, however, that the company will be unveiling its next generation chips at Computex in May.