Intel Reveals 2nd Generation of Core Processors (aka Sandy Bridge)

Earlier today, ahead of this week’s 2011 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Intel revealed the second generation of its Core processors.

Prior to this, these processors/architecture had “Sandy Bridge” as their codename. They will now be known as Core processors, and will follow the Core i3, i5, and i7 naming scheme.

These new Core processors are built upon a brand new 32nm microarchitecture, and are much more energy efficient than previous Core processors, with large increases in battery life. They also utilize Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 for times when a little more processing power is required. Turbo Boost 2.0 will allow the CPUs to run faster than the normal clock speed, but have the capability to manage any thermal issues that may arise, avoiding overheating problems.

Intel is claiming anywhere from a 40-50% boost in speed when working with multimedia content creation and gaming than original Core processors.

Better graphics performance (including 3D) are a part of the package, and the graphics system has been completely overhauled, with the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) being built into the same processor as the main CPU. This is supposed to be a huge improvement in speed and allow for easier/better cooling, along with slimmer laptop and ultraportable designs.

As part of the rollout, Intel’s WiDi has been upgraded. WiDi = Wireless Display, and it allows laptops to wirelessly send video output to other devices, and now 1080p video is supported.

LAPTOP Magazine and others have started publishing some test results and comparisons, but at least with the LAPTOP Magazine test, they were using a very high-end processor – a 2.3GHz Core i7-2820QM. It’s a quad-core CPU with 8 threads, and with the Turbo Boost technology, it can do burst speeds of up to 3.40GHz.

On the ultraportable front, as far as netbooks and other smaller laptops, we are out of look for several months, as those CPUs might not be available until the second half of 2011. This is what we have to look forward to in regards to Low Voltage (LV) and Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) CPUs:
– i5-2537M, 17W TDP, 3MB L3 Cache,
– i7-2617M, 17W TDP, 4MB L3 Cache,
– i7-2657M, 17W TDP, 4MB L3 Cache,
– i7-2629M, 25W TDP, 4MB L3 Cache,
– i7-2649M, 25W TDP, 4MB L3 Cache,

All have 2 cores and 4 threads and all have Intel’s HD Graphics 3000

From what I’ve seen, I don’t think we’ll see any 13″ and smaller laptops powered by these new CPUs (non-LV/non-ULV) for a few months. It seems to be the quad-cores launching first, with 15″ and 17″ laptops/notebooks due to the cooling/size requirements.