Here are a few guesses about the areas of Ivy Bridge that have been somewhat less explored:
1. GPU: It looks like with the right drivers that Ivy on the desktop (77/95 watt TDP with HD 4000) will be close to high end Llanos but still does not beat Llano outright. It's a step up for Intel, but Trinity is about to launch so AMD has nothing to fear on the IGP front, especially on the desktop. The open source Linux drivers are apparently already quite mature, which is good news to a Linux user like me.
2. Overclocking: This may be Ivy Bridge's greatest "failure". From the early rumors it looks like Ivy Bridge *does* use less power, but there are thermal issues with getting heat out of the rather small die. That means that IB gets hotter than SB even though it is using less power. Apparently this isn't a problem for the crazy Liquid Nitrogen guys since they can still remove heat from the chip quickly, but overclocks using standard coolers may not be that impressive. That's not to say you can't OC an Ivy Bridge chips, just that you'll likely top out at about 4.5 Ghz instead of reaching 5 Ghz easily. This could be something that Intel can fix in the manufacturing process over time, so later Ivy Bridges will likely overclock better than the first batches to hit the market.
3. GPGPU: In Anandtech's review the IGP in Ivy Bridge beat Llano in exactly one task: GPGPU. Let's face it: Intel is a company that makes silicon for compute and Ivy may be surprisingly strong on this front. While Trinity will definitely have a graphics advantage, we'll see what Trinity can do on the GPGPU side. Frankly, GPGPU is less interesting since we are talking about integrated solutions and just about any serious GPGPU user is using a beefier discrete part.
4. The rest: It looks like equivalent model Ivy Bridges get approximately a 10% boost at stock speeds compared to their Sandy Bridge ancestors while also using less power. Is that particularly "exciting"? No. Is it pretty good? Yes. This is the first round of 22nm from Intel, and even though there have been delays, this is a much more ambitious launch & ramp than occurred with the 32 nm parts, where Gulftown was it for several months, followed by dual-core only Clarkdale parts.
Previous original post about IB previews
Here's the link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5626/ivy- ... e-i7-3770k
On the CPU side: about what you'd expect. Small performance increase, but with a nice reduction in power consumption.
On the GPU side: Much bigger improvements (fortunately). As you can see, the 3770k is *not* beating a high-end Llano (the 3870K), *but* it is beating mid-range Llanos now *and* doing so in a much leaner power budget. That's the trick to Intel graphics: Intel knows full well that it can't compete with AMD when the GPU can get as much juice as it wants, but Intel is banking on really relying on the GPU in Ultrabooks where there isn't room & power budget for a big GPU. Since the Ultrabooks will have the same HD-4000 graphics, we've got a good idea as to what Intel can do on the GPU side. The real question is now: what can Trinity do when constricted to a 17 watt TDP?
Edit: The direct compute benchmark at the end of the review is an incomplete but very interesting glimpse into using Ivy Bridge's GPU as a compute tool. You'll see this is about the only benchmark were IB beats the LLano on the GPU side....