So we all know Ivy Bridge will come out this year and kick everyone’s ass. Built on the 22nm process and a hugely revised version of Sandy Bridge-E, it should come as no surprise that Intel wants it to take the limelight and overshadow AMD’s efforts and also that of its own chips. Its been making some space in its porfolio for the new chips this year, and has retired production of no less than fifteen chips over the weekend, with a further nine by June this year in the Core i5 range.

That's right, your upgrade path has come to an end!

So which ones won’t you be able to buy in a few months’ time? Scrutinise the list below and make sure you’re not left in the dust before all stock runs out. With this in mind, actually, prices for the retired processors may drop, and we’ll see some great bargains in the coming weeks.

In the Core i7 range based on the LGA1366 platform, the last of the great Nehalem, Bloomfield and Lynnfield chips bids a final goodbye. Its worth noting that Nehalem is probably one of Intel’s best efforts in recent memory to please the enthusiast crowd, and the retiring i7 930 offered the best bang-for-buck for those still sitting with X58 motherboards. Also walking the plank is the i7 950, 960, 880 and 870S, the latter two which were Lynnfield dual-cores. The i7 875K will also be joining the group.

The Core i5s on their last mile are the 750S and i5 665K. These are Westmere parts, and were fitted for the LGA1156 socket. While good in their own respect, everyone knew that LGA1156 wasn’t going to last long, and enthusiasts who wanted longevity rather held out by overclocking their Core 2 Quad parts to keep things smooth. If you can find bargain prices for the chips and boards, they’ll now work best for computers for family and friends who aren’t going to upgrade in the next two or so years.

But here’s where it gets interesting: it seems Ivy Bridge may be more ready than we were anticipating. Other LGA1155 Core i5s retiring are the 650, 660, 661, 670, 680 and the i5 2300. The last shipment of the i5 2300 is expected at the end of June, so expect some really good bargains for the budget Sandy Bridge-E quad-core.

Looking lower down in the lineup, the Core i3 530, 550 and 560 are being retired at the same time, with final shipments in June. For budget rigs, the Pentium G6960 is also going the way of the dodo. its not half bad, because the new Celerons and Pentiums are easily the finest budget chips the company has ever released on the LGA1155 platform.

Atom-wise, the 410, 425, 510 and 525 are all being halted, and will only appear in netbooks already manufactured and in final production runs.

When Ivy Bridge lands this year, we’ll have replacements in the form of the i7 600, 700, 800 and 900 series, just like Lynnfield. At the higher end of the scale, Core i 3000 models will be replaced by Ivy Bridge models as well. In this month’s NAG, Neo wasn’t very happy with the current-gen i7 3930K, and should be well pleased with its replacement when it hits our shores later this year.

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