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Intel Reveals More About Sandy Bridge Core CPUs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 59 comments

Intel has shown us what Sandy Bridge looks like in chip form.

Sandy Bridge 32nm WaferSandy Bridge 32nm WaferSandy Bridge is Intel's code name for the next-generation of Core microarchitecture, and also the biggest leap in CPU technology for the company since its introduction of Nehalem.

Sandy Bridge mobileSandy Bridge mobile

This part takes Westmere's integrated graphics strategy and pushes a faster GPU into the same die as the CPU, all built on a 32nm process. With the two parts inside the same die, both share cache and the graphics part picks up a few tricks from the CPU. The IGP on Sandy Bridge will utilize the same power management as CPU as well as be capable of Turbo Boost. The graphics part itself will support DirectX 10.1 features, but anyone who wants DX11 will probably have a discrete part already on his build list.

Sandy Bridge desktopSandy Bridge desktop

Check out some more detail from the slides from the Sandy Bridge presentation at IDF.

Intel also sent out a press release related to the event.

Intel Details 2011 Processor Features, Offers Stunning Visuals Built-in

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13, 2010 - Intel Corporation revealed today several significant design features for the company's 2011 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family at the Intel Developer Forum. The new and enhanced features will further extend Intel's chip performance and battery life leadership, and add a number of visually related features built right into the chips.

Codenamed "Sandy Bridge," the chips will be based on Intel's first new "visibly smart" microarchitecture produced on the company's cutting-edge manufacturing factories, or "fabs," at 32-nanometer (nm is a billionth of a meter) process technology with second- generation high-k metal gate transistors.

"The way people and businesses are using computers is evolving at an explosive rate, fueling demand for an even more powerful and visually appealing experience," said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. "Our upcoming 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family represents the biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any previous generation. In addition to offering these features inside Intel-based laptops, we plan to scale these advances across our server data center and embedded computing product portfolio."

The processor family will include a new "ring" architecture that allows the built-in processor graphics engine to share resources such as cache, or a memory reservoir, with the processor's core to increase a device's computing and graphics performance while maintaining energy efficiency.

The 2nd Generation Intel Core processor also includes an enhanced version of Intel® Turbo Boost Technology. This feature automatically shifts or reallocates processor cores and processor graphics resources to accelerate performance, tailoring a workload to give users an immediate performance boost when needed.

Laptops and PCs powered by the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family are expected to be available early next year.

New Visual Experience - Visibly Smart

Intel's new processor graphics delivers enhanced visual features focused on the areas where most users are computing today:  HD video, 3-D, mainstream gaming, multi-tasking and online socializing and multimedia.

To obtain and view video faster, Perlmutter demonstrated hardware accelerated video editing using the architecture's dedicated silicon for media processing, which allows users to quickly convert video to other formats.

The 2011 chips also come with Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX). AVX delivers improved performance, rich functionality and the ability to better manage, rearrange and sort data. A new 256-bit instruction set accelerates floating point intensive applications such as digital photo editing and content creation.

Intel also demonstrated a dual processor, next-generation Intel® Xeon® processor server running Vidyo* video conferencing software that utilizes the 32 threads available on the system, and takes advantage of the AES New Instructions set (AESNI). Next-generation Xeon™ processors for 2 socket servers and workstations run 8 cores and 16 threads per processor and are on schedule for production in the second half of 2011.

Special thanks to Uwe Scheffel from Tom's Hardware Germany.

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  • 18 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , September 14, 2010 6:19 PM
    As cool as it is, I'd rather not have an IGP and have the focus entirely on the CPU. That's why I buy graphics cards, for graphics.
  • 12 Hide
    darkchazz , September 14, 2010 5:08 PM
    get ready to shell out a 1000 bucks for one of those , Intel will be Intel :|
  • 12 Hide
    eyefinity , September 14, 2010 6:01 PM
    LORD_ORIONWake me up when integrated GPUs on CPUs do 60FPS in Crysis with max details at 1080 res.


    I'd guess at 7 to 8 years, by which time neither you or anybody else will give a damn about Crysis.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    scook9 , September 14, 2010 4:34 PM
    Are they doing away with heatspreaders this generation?
  • 6 Hide
    victorintelr , September 14, 2010 4:37 PM
    Very interesting concept to put together the CPU and GPU, though if they ever hope to catch with AMD/Nvidia graphic performance...They still have a loooooong way to go. AMD have ATI at its disposition and certainly got a good advantage already. Intels still relies on its CPU for the most taxing tasks.
  • -8 Hide
    elingerniero , September 14, 2010 4:55 PM
    what is the future of pci e graphic cards? :o 
  • 4 Hide
    banthracis , September 14, 2010 4:57 PM
    So slide 17 says they're keeping the integrated PCI-e from P55. Does this mean that we'll once again have a 16 total PCIe Lane limit or was this issue resolved?

    Also, did Intel decouple the PCIe controller from BCLK? One of the biggest issues with Lynnfield was the stupid (and pointless) coupling of the 2 which limited stock v overclocking greatly.
  • -2 Hide
    enzo matrix , September 14, 2010 5:01 PM
    zipzoomflyhighSeems like they just tweaked Nehalem and added gpu. It's sad the s1155 wont be backwards compatible with s1156. At least with AMD's new AM3+ socket you will still be able to drop in your old AM3 cpu.

    No you won't.
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20100826225852_Desktop_Bulldozer_Processors_Will_Require_New_Platforms_AMD.html
    "Apparently, it was possible for AMD to make Bulldozer microprocessors compatible with existing AM3 infrastructure, but in order to do that, the company would have to sacrifice certain important features of the new core."
    So they won't be throwing us old AM3 or AM2+ users a bone.
  • 0 Hide
    repomanchitown , September 14, 2010 5:05 PM
    Is this the follow on to Intel's Larrabee project?
  • 12 Hide
    darkchazz , September 14, 2010 5:08 PM
    get ready to shell out a 1000 bucks for one of those , Intel will be Intel :|
  • 0 Hide
    truerock , September 14, 2010 5:12 PM
    Sandy Bridge will have USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0 and SATA 6.Gb/s... correct?
  • -3 Hide
    truerock , September 14, 2010 5:19 PM
    The Intel X58 Tylersburg based platform will likely be replaced by X68 Waimea Bay which includes a Sandy Bridge-E CPU and a Patsburg PCH.

    Waimea Bay / Patsburg = high-end
    Cougar Point = low-end

    http://vr-zone.com/articles/a-look-into-intel-s-next-gen-enthusiast-platform--sandy-bridge-e--waimea-bay/8877-1.html

    http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/08/12/intels-patsburg-chipset-comes-few-unexpected-surprises/

    Waimea Bay Highend Desktop (HEDT) Overview
    Earlier on, we had unveiled chipset specifications for Intel Mainstream (MS) desktop in 2011, but at that point in time, little was known of what would replace the Tylersburg Enthusiast Platform consisting Intel X58 Express chipset + i7-980X "Gulftown" CPU. With LGA1155 Sandy Bridge-MS samples already shipping, it even looked like we'd have the Tylersburg Enthusiast Platform sticking with us for a very long time.

    Before you join the uninformed; concluding that there wouldn't be an enthusiast platform on Sandy Bridge microarchitechture in 2011, we'd like to show you some exclusive knowledge about Intel's next generation HEDT.

    Intel will stick to using differentiated desktop platforms for the purpose of market segmentation in 2011. The LGA1155 Sandy Bridge-MS we've heard about over the past months will join the Cougar Point family of chipsets to corner the Mainstream and Essential market segments. For the highend segment, Waimea Bay will take the lead by joining Sandy Bridge-E processors to the Patsburg Platform Controller Hub (PCH). Because Sandy Bridge on LGA1155 will only be available in 2 core and 4 core versions, those looking forward to having 6 cores or more will have to put their money where it counts: on the Waimea Bay platform.

    Intel also has intentions to market their next generation "Taylorsville" 6Gb/s Solid State Drives (SSDs) as a complement to the Waimea Bay HEDT platform.
  • 0 Hide
    truerock , September 14, 2010 5:34 PM
    Waimea Bay = Sandy Bridge-E CPU and Patsburg PCH = high-end
    So, I guess its the Sandy Bridge-E CPU that a typical Tom's reader would get excited about - but, I don't see any information about it. Does anyone have any info on Sandy Bridge-E?
  • -3 Hide
    truerock , September 14, 2010 5:35 PM
    This is info regarding Couger Point... CPUs and chips for my Grandmother's PC - correct?
  • 0 Hide
    dertechie , September 14, 2010 5:42 PM
    banthracisSo slide 17 says they're keeping the integrated PCI-e from P55. Does this mean that we'll once again have a 16 total PCIe Lane limit or was this issue resolved?Also, did Intel decouple the PCIe controller from BCLK? One of the biggest issues with Lynnfield was the stupid (and pointless) coupling of the 2 which limited stock v overclocking greatly.


    16 lanes from the chip. Same as P55. However, the chipset PCIE is now real PCIE 2.0, rather than PCIE 2.0 hobbled to PCIE 1.1 data rates.

    As for decoupling, I think they actually went further. We have no idea how the non-K SKUs are going to overclock until we get retail samples in reviewers hands.

    truerockSandy Bridge will have USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0 and SATA 6.Gb/s... correct?


    PCIE 2.0, mixed 6 Gb/s and 3 Gb/s ports. As for USB 3, last I heard no but Wiki says otherwise. Take that with a grain of salt.
  • -7 Hide
    dowsire , September 14, 2010 5:43 PM
    Wow I thought AMD would make the "right decision" and finally change or upgrade sockets. I'm grateful that they let us upgrade from am2 all the way to am3. But can we get something that's a BIG step up. I'm been waiting for BZer forever. I'm saving for this build. I WANT my Bulldozer with: AM3+, quad channel memory, 990FX chipset, AMD HD 7800 GFX, USB3 and SATA3 on my south bridge. I've saved so much money with AMD since the k5/k6 days. I want to beat the Intel fanboys like athlon XP days. Any1 with me. I want Bulldozerer.... I want Bulldozerer.... I want Bulldozerer.... I want Bulldozerer.... If they don't do bulldozer like that, I'm switching to Intel and I've never owned an Intel!!!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    coldmast , September 14, 2010 5:50 PM
    I like that the camera catches the moke-up look of the processor
  • 12 Hide
    eyefinity , September 14, 2010 6:01 PM
    LORD_ORIONWake me up when integrated GPUs on CPUs do 60FPS in Crysis with max details at 1080 res.


    I'd guess at 7 to 8 years, by which time neither you or anybody else will give a damn about Crysis.
  • -1 Hide
    truerock , September 14, 2010 6:09 PM
    Yes, I've read this article over again... this is definately Grandma level tech for low-end PCs. I'm still thinking Intel will not have USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0 and SATA III until the Patsburg Platform Controller Hub is matched with some type of Sandy Bridge-E CPU. Looking like 2011 is going to be the Intel year of PCs for slow people.
  • -9 Hide
    truerock , September 14, 2010 6:15 PM
    I'm thinking anything spent on Intel tech in 2011 is going to be almost instantly obsolete. Hopefully 2012 will be a year of tech revolution. Who knows - maybe CPUs with clockspeeds significantly faster than my 7 year old 3.6 GHz Pentium 4.
  • 18 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , September 14, 2010 6:19 PM
    As cool as it is, I'd rather not have an IGP and have the focus entirely on the CPU. That's why I buy graphics cards, for graphics.
  • 2 Hide
    Seikent , September 14, 2010 6:45 PM
    Enzo MatrixNo you won't.http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/d [...] s_AMD.html"Apparently, it was possible for AMD to make Bulldozer microprocessors compatible with existing AM3 infrastructure, but in order to do that, the company would have to sacrifice certain important features of the new core."So they won't be throwing us old AM3 or AM2+ users a bone.

    If you read carefully, you should know that bulldozer is am3 compatible, but it doesn't support it fully. That means bulldozer performance will be crippled using am3.
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