Picture : Ivy Bridge vs Sandy Bridge GPU Die Sizes Compared

A quick look at the die photo of Sandy Bridge compared to the just-annnounced Ivy Bridge leaves no doubt as to the trend that Intel is pursuing (ed : note that the screen shots of the IB and SB floor plans are not to scale).

The semiconductor giant said of the Ivy Bridge update that it was more of a "tick plus" rather than a mere "tick" because of the major improvements made to the processor graphics unit.

Indeed, real life performance shows improvements between 25 per cent and up to 80 per cent compared to the previous GPU performance of Sandy Bridge.

When it comes to real estate on the silicon die, graphics is now by far the biggest chunk of it, occupying more area than three cores put together.

All things considered, it appears that Intel has doubled the surface occupied by the graphics subsystem in Ivy Bridge compared to Sandy Bridge.

A similar trend was noted in the Apple A5 and the Apple A5X which underlines the general strategy sought by semiconductor companies which appear to prioritise graphics performance higher than CPU performance.

The next logical step would be for the processor graphics unit to take on an even bigger role and embrace a new role as the processor's onboard GPGPU/co-processor.

You can read our review of the Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K and a low-down on the architectural updates Intel brought to Sandy Bridge's successor.