We’ve know this was coming for a while, but Intel has finally, officially, added an Ivy Bridge Core i3 processor to their lineup, the i3-3120ME. But what about the i3-3217UE, you say? True, that CPU has been listed on Intel’s ARK site for some time now, but it is only available in a soldered onboard BGA package. Now, Intel isn’t currently listing all of the details of the i3-3120ME, and “Package Type” is one of the fields that are missing, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be available in Socket G2/PGA988 based on the TDP and notes in the “Description” field.
The appeal of this new CPU clearly isn’t for its performance; rather, it’s for users who may not need anything more than an Atom for processing power, but might need access to some of the latest features in the 7-series chipsets, including SATA III, USB 3.0, or support for three independent displays. Or, maybe, they just need more available RAM or Linux or 64-bit graphics drivers, which aren’t currently supported on the latest Intel Atom processors. Add to that the extended production lifecycle (7 years), and you have a great cost-effective, long life option.
You can compare all four of the embedded (7 year lifecycle) Ivy Bridge processors here.