A few weeks ago we previewed the performance of Intel’s next-generation microprocessor architecture, codenamed Sandy Bridge. We came away impressed with our early look at performance but honestly had very little explanation for why the chip performed the way it did. For the first time in years we knew the performance of an Intel processor without knowing much about its underlying architecture.

Today, that all changes.

Sandy Bridge is Intel’s 2011 performance mainstream architecture refresh. It won’t take the place of the 6-core Gulftown based Core i7 processors at the top of the charts, but it’ll occupy the competitive space below it. The value segments won’t see Sandy Bridge until 2012.

The first CPUs will ship very early in 2011 for both desktops and notebooks. The architecture discussion we have here today applies to both. The CPUs won’t be called Sandy Bridge but instead will be called Intel’s 2nd generation Core i3/i5/i7 microrpocessors. The naming system will follow this format we outlined in our earlier look at Sandy Bridge:

Sandy Bridge Desktop CPU Comparison
  Base Frequency L3 Cache Cores/Threads Max Single Core Turbo Intel HD Graphics Frequency/Max Turbo Unlocked TDP
Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4GHz 8MB 4 / 8 3.8GHz 850 / 1350MHz Y 95W
Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz 8MB 4 / 8 3.8GHz 850 / 1350MHz N 95W
Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3GHz 6MB 4 / 4 3.7GHz 850 / 1100MHz Y 95W
Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 6MB 4 / 4 3.7GHz 850 / 1100MHz N 95W
Intel Core i5 2400 3.1GHz 6MB 4 / 4 3.4GHz 850 / 1100MHz N 95W
Intel Core i3 2120 3.3GHz 3MB 2 / 4 N/A 850 / 1100MHz N 65W
Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz 3MB 2 / 4 N/A 850 / 1100MHz N 65W

The CPUs will require a new socket (LGA-1155) and all new motherboards based on Intel’s forthcoming 6-series chipsets.


The new socket


New low-profile 45W Sandy Bridge heatsink (left)

The chipset brings 6Gbps SATA support (2 ports) but no native USB 3, motherboard manufacturers will still have to use an off-chip controller to get USB 3 support. Intel will also enable 5GT/s PCIe 2.0 slots with its 6-series chipsets.


A mini-ITX LGA-1155 Motherboard

The Front End
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  • beginner99 - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    AMD's been taking about fusion forever but I can't get rid of the feeling that this Intel implementation will be much more "fused" than the AMD one will be. AMD barley has CPU turbo so adding a comined cpu/gpu turbo at once, maybe they can pull it off but experience makes me doubt that very much.

    BTW, if it takes like 3mm^2 for a super fast video encoder I ask my self, why wasn't this done before?
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    first or not, doesn't really matter.

    who says AMD need's GPU turbo? If Liano really is a 400SP GPU it will knock any Intel GPU with or without turbo.

    If we see the first results of Anadtech review which seems to be a GT2 part it doesn't have a chance at all.

    core i5 is really castrated due to lack of HT, This is exactly where liano will fight against, with a bit less cpu power.
    Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    Even if AMD's GPU in Liano is faster, intels GPU is finally decent and good enough for most people, but more importantly more people will care about CPU performance because most users dont play games and this GPU can more than easily handle HD video. And i'm sure SB will be faster than anything AMD has. Then throw in the AVX and i'd say Intel clearly have a better option for the vast majority of people, it just comes down to price now. Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    Sorry, didnt mean AVX, i meant the hardware accelerated video encoding. Reply
  • bitcrazed - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    But it's not just about raw power - it's about power per dollar.

    If you've got $500 to spend on a mobo and CPU, where do you spend it? On a slower Intel platform or on a faster AMD platform?

    If AMD get their pricing right, they could turn this into a no-brainer decision, greatly increasing their sales.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    now here comes the issue with the real fanboys:

    "And i'm sure SB will be faster than anything AMD has."

    It's exactly price where AMD has the better option. It's people " known brand name" that keeps them at buying the same thing without knowledge... yeah lets buy a Pentium.
    Reply
  • takeulo - Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - link

    hahahahah yeah i agree AMD is the better option at all if i have the high budget i'll go for Insane i mean Intel but since im only "poor" and i cant afford it so i'll stick to AMD and my money worth it

    sorry for my bad english XD
    Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Monday, December 20, 2010 - link

    how do you know Intel GPU has reached good enough state (do you have benchmarks to support your hypothesis). they have been trying to reach this state for as long as i can remember.

    your good enough state might be very different that somebodies else's good enough state.
    Reply
  • bindesh - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    Your all doubts will be cleared after watching this video, and related once.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqBk0uHrxII&fea...

    I am having 3 AMDs and 1 Intel, Believe me with the price of AMD CPUs, i can only get a celeron in Intel. Which cannot run NFS SHIFT. Or TIme Shift. But other hand, with AMD athlon, i have completed Devil May Cry 4 with decent speed. And the laptop costs 24K, Toshiba C650, psg xxxxx18 model. It has 360 GB SSD, ATI 4200HD.

    Can you get such price and performance with Intel?

    Best part is that i am running it with 800MHz cpu speed, with performance much much greater than 55K intel dual core laptop of my friend.
    Reply
  • vlado08 - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    Still no word ont the 23.976 FPS play back? Reply

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