The Roadmap: Sandy Bridge in 2011

Like Bloomfield, Gulftown may end up having a relatively long lifespan at the top of the charts. Below is Intel’s current desktop roadmap through the beginning of 2011. You’ll notice that when Sandy Bridge arrives, it’s going to be limited to two and four core configurations. Performance per core will improve, but it doesn’t look like we’ll see an ultra high end version of Sandy Bridge until at least Q2 or Q3 of next year.


A wafer of Gulftown

The verdict isn’t out on whether or not Sandy Bridge will require a new motherboard. It is possible to make the chip work in existing LGA-1156 motherboards, but that requires additional validation that Intel may not be willing to commit to at this point. The decision isn’t final yet and Intel is telling its partners to expect a new chipset (6-series) and thus new motherboards to support the chip at this point.

The next point of interest is the Core i7 970, which is apparently a cheaper Gulftown due out next quarter. It slots in above the Core i7 960 and 870, meaning it may be priced somewhere in the $600 - $900 range. The very first Extreme Edition carried a $740 price tag. I’d guess that we’d see a 3.2GHz default clock speed on that part.


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  • JumpingJack - Monday, March 15, 2010 - link

    THG's power numbers are often screwed up, I would not trust them.

    Good sites for power numbers include this, TR, Xbitlabs, and lost circuits. I have never been able to come close to any of Tom's numbers even with identical HW.
    Reply
  • OBLAMA2009 - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    how come anand says he's excited about it and then later he says he'd never spend money on it

    personally i wouldnt spend that much on a cpu but i think this thing would be a good chip for so long that if you did it wouldnt be a bad deal even at 1000. itll probably be the close to the fastest chip for the two years
    Reply
  • Paladin1211 - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    I can't figure out why the i7 870 only gets 70.6 fps in WoW while the i7 920 gets 85.5 fps. Higher clock, higher turbo, same hyper threading, integrated PCIe lanes... yet the 920 is 21% faster.

    Someone enlightens me please :(
    Reply
  • JumpingJack - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    That's a good question .... it shouldn't. Reply
  • p05esto - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    I'm going through withdrawl. I've had my Core i7 920 since the day they were released and really want to upgrade, like yesterday. But I'm not spending $1k on a CPU, maybe $400 could work :) if they came out with something decent and overclockable to get near the extreme version. I feel like I'm stuck at the moment....I feel the need, the need for speed!!! Reply
  • bludragon - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Well it's a beast, no doubt about that. But the most interesting info here is that sandy bride is debuting as a mainstream part. Has this ever happened with a new cpu before? Is this just because they are going to start with less cores, or have they taken some other architectural departure? Reply
  • RamarC - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    btw, i'm trademarking "sexycore" Reply
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    "I wonder where Intel will price the Core i7 970, allegedly also a 6-core Gulftown derivative"

    Hey Anand, if history is any indication, and there's no competition from AMD, I'll bet you a dollar that the 970 will retail for around $850 - the same price of the venerable mainstream Q6600 that was released a few months after the $999 QX6700... ;)
    Reply
  • aigomorla - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    i heard it was gonna be near the 600 mark.

    It wont be cheaper then the 960, and it wont be more expensive then a 980X.

    Reply
  • Robear - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    You start by saying, "I have to say that Intel's Core i7 980X is the first Extreme Edition CPU that I've ever gotten excited about. ... The 980X gives you its best regardless of what you throw at it. ... If money were no object, the Core i7 980X is clearly the best you can get."

    But then you conclude with a much more somber, "The Core i7 980X is such a difficult processor to recommend."

    What really threw me for a loop, though, was this comment: "You could pick up a dual-socket Xeon board and a pair of quad-core Nehalem Xeons for a bit more than a X58 + 980X"

    There are so many problems with that statement :( It's very un-anand-like.

    Foregoing any assumptions about what you mean specifically, I haven't seen any 3.0+ GHz XEONs sub $1,000. Even then, I'm not convinced a dual-quad would even outperform the 980 unless you went with a couple of EPs, and that's way off the price mark. Your conclusion ends with a mild suggestion towards a platform you didn't benchmark. The 980 can put you at 3.6 GHz in a single-threaded app which you can't get from a dual-XEON.

    The 980 truly is the best of both worlds, as you initially indicated.

    Given that that the 960 is 3.2 GHz @ 4 cores is running ~$600, you can snag a whole 2 more cores, a speed boost, AND other 980-only perks for an extra $400. Think back to what the EE got you at its debut - another 10%-20% clock and an unlocked multiplier for something like a 100% markup over the next highest model.

    This chip really seems like a bargain, but that's my opinion. I'm considering the 980X over a new 930 build just for the longevity it provides. It's just SO much power for the money. The simple fact that it puts it in the same league as a dual-quad XEON raises the hair on the back of my neck :)

    Can you elaborate on a XEON system that would be comparable in performance and price to the 980? Maybe that would be a good article. I wonder what kind of performance hit you take with the QPI between two chips versus what you get with the 980. Skilltrail did okay, but the FB-DIMMs really hurt gaming. I think a 980 v. XEON would be a great article.
    Reply

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