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Ivy Bridge gets early benchmark; graphics gains look good

Intel's Ivy Bridge processors might have been delayed a few weeks, but they're already being tested. And so far, the findings are impressive on the graphics side.

Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors have been benchmarked by enthusiast site Anandtech.

The blog reported earlier this week that while Ivy Bridge's CPU performance offers only a marginal improvement over its predecessor, Sandy Bridge, it shines on the graphics side.

According to Anandtech, current Sandy Bridge processor users will only find a 5 percent to 15 percent increase in CPU performance with the upcoming Ivy Bridge chips. The focus in Ivy Bridge, however, seemed to be placed on the GPU, which saw improvement to the tune of 20 percent to 50 percent in the blog's testing.

That 50 percent improvement came in Anandtech's evaluation of graphics performance playing last year's mega-hit The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Although Ivy Bridge came in fourth place in its benchmark, trailing AMD's Radeon HD 5570, Nvidia's GeForce GT440, and the Radeon HD 6550D, it easily outshined Sandy Bridge, scoring a 46.2 (out of 70). Sandy Bridge scored a 31.9 in the study.

For Intel, that's good enough for Ivy Bridge. The processor is not meant to compete on the same level as some of the better, discrete graphics cards on the market, and by performing at a much higher level than Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge can at least gain some respect among gamers.

In Anandtech's many other benchmarks, Ivy Bridge held up quite well. It scored top marks for Office Productivity and video creation. Even in 3D, Ivy Bridge took the top spot over several of the top chips on the market right now.

Still, Ivy Bridge's launch is a question mark. Late last month, Intel announced that the chip would be delayed a "few weeks." A previous report Intel called "inaccurate" said that the delay could be as much as eight weeks.

When Ivy Bridge finally gets to store shelves, however, Intel expects a significant number of chips to be made available in the first half of the year.

"We expect to ship over 50 percent more volume of Ivy Bridge units to the market in the first two quarters of production in 2012 as compared to Sandy Bridge [in the same time frame last year]," Intel spokesman Jon Carvill told CNET last month.