Intel’s next generation processor Ivy Bridge will be accompanied by new chipsets and motherboards, and it looks like the latter are ready. Ivy Bridge is not ready for launch though, which means the manufacturers have to sit back and wait for a bit.
We have had an approximate launch date for Ivy Bridge for some time and several system builders has been given thumbs to launch noteboooks with Ivy Bridge on April 8th. It has now been revealed that motherboards sporting Z77 chipsets, which will replace Z68, are already ready for market, three months before the launch of Ivy Bridge.
Tests of the new chipsets and motherboards have been going on for months, and in practice done. The problem is that Ivy Bridge is not ready, as we assume that Intel is working full time to get its processor out in time. Even if Intel would postpone the launch there is no reason to do so since there is little competition for its current Sandy Bridge processors.
The big news about Z77 is the integrated support for four USB 3.0 ports. This will result in USB 3.0 being more accessible, and eventually make it the fast standard we want it to be. This should also speed up the development of more USB 3.0 devices.
Ivy Bridge will be backwards compatible with current motherboards with socket 1155, but we have heard that Z77 will bring other functions that will make Ivy Bridge even more attractive. Exactly what is unclear, but it could be that Z77 motherboards will get a BCLK multiplier that is also found in X79 and Sandy Bridge-E, which opens up for overclocking locked processor models.