The good folks at SemiAccurate have come across an interesting slide revealing details about Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processor and its accompanying Panther Point chipset. Ivy Bridge, the 22-nm successor to Intel's Sandy Bridge, looks like it could have 16 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 connectivity integrated in the CPU. The third-gen PCIe spec boosts per-lane bandwidth to an even 1GB/s in each direction—double what's offered by PCIe 2.0.
In addition to a fatter pipe for graphics cards, the slide promises a next-generation Intel HD Graphics core with "enhanced encode/decode/transcode capability." With a little cooperation from the accompanying Panther Point chipset, this new GPU will be capable of powering three independent displays. Don't get your hopes up about multi-monitor gaming, though; this is still Intel integrated graphics we're talking about.
According to the slide posted by SemiAccurate, Ivy Bridge CPUs will hook up to a Panther Point chipset with native USB 3.0 support. Four SuperSpeed ports will be offered, so you'll probably get a stack of old-school USB 2.0 ports, as well. Surprisingly, this supposed 7-series chipset will stick with the same SATA setup as current 6-series chipsets: two 6Gbps ports and four 3Gbps ones. The lack of 6Gbps SATA throughout is discouraging. However, when Ivy Bridge emerges next year, it seems unlikely that a lot of folks are going to be running more than two storage devices that can actually exploit 6Gbps connectivity. Mechanical hard drives won't be fast enough, and SSDs won't be cheap enough.