Although Intel won't start production of its first 22nm processors, based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, until the second half of the year, the first rumors about the chip's performance have already made they way onto the web, early reports suggesting that the CPUs could be 20% faster than the current Sandy Bridge processors. The report comes from the VR-Zone website that got to witness some Intel roadmaps that estimated the performance improvement brought by Ivy Bridge. To put things into perspective, when compared to the first generation of Intel Core chips, Sandy Bridge was only 15% to 17% faster per clock, so the speed increase advertised for Ivy Bridge is hard to believe. The only way this massive increase in performance can be explained is if Intel used different clocked parts for its comparison, pairing them by price level instead. Ivy Bridge will be Intel's first chip designed with the 22nm fabrication process and is actually a die shrink of Sandy Bridge. For this reason, not many changes will be made to its architecture, the chip even using the same LGA 1155 socket as its predecessor. However, there's a pretty strong chance that the integrated PCI Express controller will be upgraded in order to support the new 3.0 standard of the interface. On the graphics side of things, Ivy Bridge will be Intel's first chip to bring support for DirectX 11, and the company targets a 30 percent graphics performance boost in comparison with Sandy Bridge. In addition, the on-die GPU will also support up to three independent displays and HDMI 1.4, as well as improved video encoding, decoding and transcoding. The upcoming Ivy Bridge processors use the Panther Point chipset that brings native support for up to four USB 3.0 ports. The Panther Point PCH, together with the upcoming Ivy Bridge processors, form the Maho Bay platform for desktop computers that is going to be launched sometime in 2012.