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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A 12MB L3 Cache: 50% Larger, 14% Higher Latency The Heatsink


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  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    it's a 2-p4 mcm at at a lower node with a lot
    of improvements over the older p4 manufacturing processes.

    if i absolutely had to have netburst, that's what i would want.

    i think it's really nice that Anand includes it in the comparison, because it gives a sense of history to the article, and it shows how much faster CPUs have gotten in such a short time.

  • JonnyDough - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Yep. It might be based on P4, but you can't really considered a P4. It was based on two cedar mill cores rather than smithfield with double the cache and a 200mhz bus speed jump. Reply
  • Dadofamunky - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    And exactly the same NetBurst architecture otherwise. And I'm sorry, but seeing that POS coming up with 40% against Gulftown signifies either one of two things: Gulftown isn't that much faster; or, the SysMark software distorts the relative performance results. That isn't a realistic portrayal of 'history.' SysMark 2007 badly needs an update. It isn't a realistic tool for the 4-to-6-core world. Reply
  • danielkza - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Weird, other sites managed to squeeze up to 4.4GHz of the 980X on air, and 4.7GHz on WC. I thought initially of different stability requirements from both parts, but bit-tech ran all their benchmarks at both 4400MHz and 4720MHz. Maybe Anand's DX58 isn't holding up so well after all.">
  • DanNeely - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Anand only used a stock cooler to test. The intel coolers never have much head room in them. Luck of the draw in both mobo and CPU might be a factor but so is bit-tech's better cooling. Reply
  • chrisfam - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Tomshardware got a 4.13 Ghz overclock with 1.4v and with Enhanced SpeedStep and Turbo Boost enabled. Neoseeker got a 4.16 Ghz overclock with just 1.35v. And both of these were with the stock heat sink. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    I've been working on a follow up to go deeper into our overclocked numbers. A motherboard swap later and a little bit of work appears to be paying off...I'm over 4.1GHz already :-)

    Update soon!

    Take care,
  • chrisfam - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Updated overclock (4.13 Ghz, 1.359V) is much better. Thanks for the update. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    That's right, 3.7-3.8GHz is the full load limit of Intel's stock cooler with these beasts. We ran out of time to really push, but I'm sure we'll find out what these chips can do in due course.

  • strikeback03 - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Is the new tower cooler an improvement in any way over the old one? Is it quieter, as it doesn't seem to offer more OC headroom.

    Also, how does the CPU power consumption increase by 130W at load over idle, while system consumption only goes up 90W?

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