Last night, major retailers across the United States began offering Intel Ivy Bridge processors along with Ivy Bridge-optimized Intel Z77 motherboards (Sandy Bridge H61, H67 and z68 MoBos/Chipsets are still Ivy compatible). You can even find significant discounts ($50/off at Amazon above) already.

As TonyMacx86 notes, a kernel patch is necessary to build a Hackintosh with Ivy Bridge currently. That has not stopped some savvy Hackintoshers from getting MacOS up and running (and benchmarked). However, Apple has not shipped a native OS kernel compatible with Ivy Bridge, which makes the patched kernel less desirable than a vanilla kernel that supports Ivy Bridge.

It is not certain if Mac OS 10.7.4 is Ivy compatible (commenters—correct me, if I am wrong).

With Ivy Bridge processors now on store shelves, it would seem that there are not any external barriers to Apple releasing new Ivy Bridge-powered systems.

Ivy Bridge feature improvements over Sandy Bridge include:
  • Tri-gate transistor technology (less than 50% power consumption at the same performance level as 2-D planar transistors).
  • PCI Express 3.0 support.
  • Max CPU multiplier of 63 (57 for Sandy Bridge).
  • RAM support up to 2800 MT/s in 200 MHz increments.
  • Intel HD Graphics 2500/4000 with DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and OpenCL 1.1 support.
  • The built-in GPU is believed to have up to 16 execution units (EUs), compared to Sandy Bridge’s maximum of 12.
  • A new random number generator and the RdRand instruction, codenamed Bull Mountain.
  • Intel Quick Sync Video.
  • DDR3L low voltage for mobile processors.
  • Multiple 4K video playback.                                                      Source: Wikipedia

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