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The Man Behind 'Sandy Bridge'

By - Source: Intel | B 12 comments

CEO Paul Otellini said it is the company's most important processor yet (but then he said the same about Silverthorne as well) and it may be a good idea to see where this chip is coming from - meet Ron Friedman.

I have always enjoyed looking into the people behind that somewhat stiff and cold blue Intel logo. A few years, I spoke with Mooly Eden, the guy who brought Intel Banias and the turnaround from the gigahertz race in 2006. Intel seems to have picked up the idea with Sandy Bridge and posted a brief Q&A with Ron Friedman, who is vice president and general manager of Intel’s Microprocessor and Chipset Development group responsible for microprocessor design teams in California and Israel. If you were to track down the management for the creation of Sandy Bridge, you would most likely end up with Friedman.

There isn't much technical detail in the article, with the exception that briefly talked about the integration of the CPU and graphics within one core. "As we integrated the graphics and the Intel Architecture on the same die, we had to figure out ways to validate the interactions between the compute core and the graphics — interactions that didn’t exist before, because they had been on two separate dies, Friedman said. "Debugging got much more complex, too. That’s because when you have functions on multiple dies, you have more interfaces exposed outside the silicon, which makes it easier to debug. When you are integrating everything on one die, you improve the cost and power envelopes — but the debug gets harder because there are fewer places to test."

The more interesting parts of the interview touch work the different work cultures between Israeli and American design teams and the various ways the same words can be interpreted differently in different countries. As Eden told me before, Friedman also mentioned that people in Israel like to discuss problems much more passionately than we do here in the U.S. where we may interpret such behavior as arguing. Eden told me in 2006 that he is not a friend of the phrase "there is a challenge", when we really aim to say "there is a problem."

"It is a challenge to solve the problem," Eden said back then.       

In fact, there may be a deeper connection between Eden and Friedman than Friedman shares in the interview. When asked from where his management experience came from and which people he would consider mentors, he simply noted that he worked with different managers over time. He specifically referred to the Timna processor, an integrated processor design that was scheduled to hit the market in 2000. Back then, Eden was working this project and Friedman said he "was responsible for the design of the second half of the project." (You can read some details about the changed gigahertz race in the interview with Eden.)

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  • 0 Hide
    edilee , January 3, 2011 10:40 PM
    If integrated graphics is the only new and exciting thing about Sandy Bridge then that isn't very exciting at all. This is the best way to date your system but for low end users it would be great. High end users will want to use a seperate graphics option so they can upgrade it as needed. I still want to see some performance reviews on the Sandy chips!
  • 1 Hide
    christop , January 3, 2011 10:47 PM
    I thought this chip was going to be something super.. I am sticking with my I7 930.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 3, 2011 10:55 PM
    Funny, Cyrix was doing this years ago. They (Cyrix) were either too far ahead of their time or it was a bad decision (or a bad decision at the time?).

    All in all, this is nothing new.

  • 0 Hide
    mesh1 , January 3, 2011 11:16 PM
    Some of the benchmarks show that the only cpu topping the new SNB's ($317) are the 6core gulftown ($900+). If youre in the market for a new cpu this is gold! Not to mention Quick Sync tech which transcodes video really fast and shows improved video quality on the resulting output. The are aimed right at Apple. Performance wise its not mindblowing but if you look at what youre getting for the price its quite nice :) . Im hyped since im up for an upgrade
  • 0 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , January 4, 2011 12:19 AM
    christopI thought this chip was going to be something super.. I am sticking with my I7 930.

    integrate the crappy Intel IGP in the processor won't make it supper :) 
    and the idea was not new , they just copy from the competitors ...
  • 1 Hide
    dogman_1234 , January 4, 2011 12:47 AM
    I was hoping the 'Man behind Sandy Bridge' would be a basic CAD designer with a huge imagination who wanted to bring his company's innovation to the next level. Well, my dreams were shattered.
  • -2 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , January 4, 2011 2:20 AM
    sonofliberty08integrate the crappy Intel IGP in the processor won't make it supper and the idea was not new , they just copy from the competitors ...


    You obviously don't have a clue as to what you're going on about.
  • 0 Hide
    mosu , January 4, 2011 12:11 PM
    quote: "It is a challenge to solve the problem"
    If their problems are so small and pose no challenge, why are they so well paid? That happens when you have loads of money and technology and competition solves your problems and not protecting his solutions, eventually paying {AMD} a few bucks because you are the biggest dog in business. And guys, speed isn't everything.
  • 1 Hide
    twist3d1080 , January 4, 2011 1:19 PM
    jkflipflop98You obviously don't have a clue as to what you're going on about.


    If he doesn't and you do, care to enlighten him and the rest of us? Telling some one there wrong in a snarky way just makes you sound like a jerk. Informing someone why they are wrong and providing links for fact checking makes you sound reasonable and thoughtful.
  • -1 Hide
    f-14 , January 4, 2011 7:18 PM
    Twist3d1080If he doesn't and you do, care to enlighten him and the rest of us? Telling some one there wrong in a snarky way just makes you sound like a jerk. Informing someone why they are wrong and providing links for fact checking makes you sound reasonable and thoughtful.

    me having to do the work just so you don't think i'm a snarky jerk isn't worth the effort as it's much easier to ignore some one who can't bother to do their own homwork and think they should be given/fed everything thru osmosis. i certainly know why teachers and professors hate this attitude when they encounter a lazy student who can't do their own work and act like a little child who demands proof when it's laying all around you. did you even bother to read all the sandybridge articles? the one i read yesterday going over performance in the charts was very informative on just what it's made for and capable of doing.
    now that i've made is extremely tedious and long winded in providing you with enough information to search for what you need to find and read for yourself are you going to do it? i seriously doubt it proving why it's not worth the effort to do all the work for lazy people, just so you MIGHT think he have a clue worth listening to. that's so totally not worth it in my world.

    i learned a few decades ago people are not beneath only supplying information proving what they want you to believe and it's best to do the research yourself. learning to read between the lines is priceless at discovering agendas. i like it best when people point things out to look at that hold enough interest for me to go research. it eats up a good portion of the day that other wise would have been spent being bored despite all the new repetative movies and video games.

    now if you would like to pay me to do your thinking for you i'm sure we can work out a rather expensive payment method for you!
  • 0 Hide
    defg0003 , January 4, 2011 10:58 PM
    twist3d - some would suggest that a rising tide raises all vessels. such would include those necessary for the existence of sites which enable you to do your homework. amazingly when one patiently provides information, direction or guidance to the unwashed, one also provides such "content" to those diligently in search of substantive information. then again, every community needs "one or two." arguably.
  • 1 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , January 5, 2011 2:29 AM
    jkflipflop98You obviously don't have a clue as to what you're going on about.

    im so sorry if what i said hurts your fanboism :) 

    f-14me having to do the work just so you don't think i'm a snarky jerk isn't worth the effort as it's much easier to ignore some one who can't bother to do their own homwork and think they should be given/fed everything thru osmosis. i certainly know why teachers and professors hate this attitude when they encounter a lazy student who can't do their own work and act like a little child who demands proof when it's laying all around you. did you even bother to read all the sandybridge articles? the one i read yesterday going over performance in the charts was very informative on just what it's made for and capable of doing. now that i've made is extremely tedious and long winded in providing you with enough information to search for what you need to find and read for yourself are you going to do it? i seriously doubt it proving why it's not worth the effort to do all the work for lazy people, just so you MIGHT think he have a clue worth listening to. that's so totally not worth it in my world.i learned a few decades ago people are not beneath only supplying information proving what they want you to believe and it's best to do the research yourself. learning to read between the lines is priceless at discovering agendas. i like it best when people point things out to look at that hold enough interest for me to go research. it eats up a good portion of the day that other wise would have been spent being bored despite all the new repetative movies and video games.now if you would like to pay me to do your thinking for you i'm sure we can work out a rather expensive payment method for you!

    yes u r rite , is not worth to argue on the Sandy Bitch article , we better save some time to look on the Fusion APU article :D 

    for those folks who planning to getting a new laptop , i suggest we should at least wait until the release of Fusion in the first half of this year , then we can compare and make our choice for going on the Sandy Bitch or Fusion :)