Although the market is currently buying Intel's matured Nehalem-based chips since the beginning of this year (although Apple only finally caught up just yesterday) with the Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs, the chipmaker has revealed when the next CPU successor, Sandy Bridge will hit.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini yesterday said at a developer forum in Beijing that it's shipping volume samples of Sandy Bridge to customers in Q1 2010 as an early step towards commercial production later this year. Actual chips will be hitting sometime in early 2011.
Initial Sandy Bridge chips will feature dual and quad core configurations before stepping into more complex chips with hexacore or octacore designs. The new chips will run on the LGA1155 Intel 6-Series platform codenamed Cougar Point.
One of the advancements in Sandy Bridge is the addition of Intel Advanced Vector Extension (AVX) instructions, which is designed to accelerate multimedia such as image, video, and audio processing, as well as engineering applications, including 3D modeling and analysis, scientific simulation, and financial analytics.
Sandy Bridge will also continue support for the Intel AES New Instructions (AES-NI), seven software instructions that accelerate data encryption and decryption. Sandy Bridge will also integrate Intel's sixth-generation graphics core and will include acceleration for floating point, video, and processor intensive software most often found in media applications.
Intel will be sticking with its 32nm process technology, which the company has been proud to say that it is the fastest ramp ever, for the first Sandy Bridge iterations.
"In our manufacturing environment our factory teams have executed the ramp of our 32nm process superbly. We exceeded output expectations with lower costs than originally anticipated and are currently shipping over fifty SKUs on 32nm process. 32nm is our fastest ramping process ever and I am pleased to note we are accelerating the ramp of our third and fourth 32nm factories faster than our original plan, such that by early Q4 we will have four factories in production on 32nm," said Mr. Otellini.