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Intel Corp. said on Tuesday that it had begun sampling of its code-named Sandy Bridge processors with customers in Q1 2010, about a year ahead of the actual commercial product launch. In addition, the company indicated that its 32nm fabrication process technology is the fastest manufacturing process ever.

Thousands of Sandy Bridge Processors Shipping Now

“We began volume sampling [of Sandy Bridge processors] in Q1, shipping thousands of samples to a broad range of customers and we are planning [to begin] volume production later this year,” said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer and president of Intel.

The first Intel Sandy Bridge chips will feature two or four cores with Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technology as well as integrated graphics processor that will actually be on the same die as the x86 cores, according to previous reports. The chips will address mainstream market segments currently served by Intel Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 processors, hence, there will be a lot of different models with 65W (dual-core, quad-core) or 95W (quad-core) thermal design power, according to documents seen by X-bit labs. The new processors will use LGA1155 form-factor and will be compatible with platforms based on the Intel 6-series chipsets code-named Cougar Point. It is noteworthy that while the new 6-series mainstream chipsets support Serial ATA-600 and some other innovations, the USB 3.0 does not seem to be a capability of the core-logic.

The key feature of Sandy Bridge Intel AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions) which, when used by software programmers, will increase performance in floating point, media, and processor intensive software, according to the Intel. Key features of Intel AVX include wider vectors, increasing from 128 bit to 256 bit wide, resulting in up to 2x peak FLOPs output; enhanced data rearrangement, resulting in allowing data to be pulled more efficiently, and three operand, non-destructive syntax for a range of benefits. Intel AVX can also increase energy efficiency beyond the increases brought by the micro-architectural innovations, and is backwards compatible to existing Intel processors.

Some reports claim that six-core and eight-core Sandy Bridge-based designs will become available in Q2 2011 or later, hence, Intel is taking the same strategy as with Westmere micro-architecture and plans to initiate production of less complex processors first with higher-end models following later. The SNB processors will be made using proven 32nm fabrication process, which means that production ramp of the chips may be extremely quick.

32nm – Fastest Ramping Process Technology for Intel

While many other companies are struggling with 45nm/40nm process technologies and even cancel 32nm fabrication processes, thanks to new materials that Intel uses to manufacturing its chips using 32nm process technology, the company claims that the 32nm production ramp is the fastest in its history.

“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.

According to Stacy Smith, chief financial officer of the world’s largest chipmaker, in the first quarter Intel ended up shipping more 32nm microprocessors than it first planned, which is the result of resurrection of demand towards personal computers.

Intel on Tuesday reported first-quarter revenue of $10.3 billion and operating income of $3.4 billion, net income of $2.4 billion and earning per share of 43 cents.

Tags: Intel, 32nm, Cougar Point

Discussion

Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 04/14/10 08:45:07 AM
Latest comment: 04/14/10 08:59:28 PM

[1-6]

1. 
I am holding back upgrade of my current system (Core2Duo)until sandy bridge is released.
0 0 [Posted by: boyfriend  | Date: 04/14/10 08:45:08 AM]
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2. 
how is it possible for intel to begin shipping to select customers in Q1 2010... Q1 2010 ended 14 days ago, we are now in Q2 2010. Are they using a time machine?
Or did you mean "they have begun shipping them since Q1 2010", to indicate that we are just now finding out what they have been doing back then?
0 0 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 04/14/10 11:08:03 AM]
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3. 
Corporate quarters vary for every company.
0 0 [Posted by: sollord  | Date: 04/14/10 01:37:04 PM]
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4. 
So, trying to get the next couple years straight. From a CPU standpoint, it's something like:

Atom < Ontario (Bobcat) < Llano (Fusion) ~ SNB dual ~ 2-mod Zambezi (Bulldozer) < quad SNB < Zambezi 4-mod (Bulldozer) ~ Hexa SNB < 8-mod Interlagos (Bulldozer) ~ Octo SNB?

Something like that?

Llano is AM3 for sure, SNB dual/quad are 1155; questionably compatible with current 1155 chipsets, but a new one will be released. Both come in Q1.

Then by Q3 2011, we have 2/4-module bulldozers launching on a AM3r2, meaning likely backwards compatibility for the CPUs. Ontario (Athlon dual-core with 512k cache per core + HD5450?) launches as well (on 28nm). Intel launches a completely NEW chipset (1356/X68) for 6/8 core SNB, that replaces 1366 (X58).

Then in early 2012, Intel refreshes the 1155 lineup on 22nm with something (shrink?). AMD will launch a 28nm fusion chip using Bulldozer, probably using 2 modules to replace Llano and 1 to replace Ontario. Desktop Interlagos is likely at some point.

Then comes octo-core Haswell with FMA, maybe on-die Larrabee, who knows what in late 2012. Around the same time, AMD goes to 22nm for their lineup...

Ok, got all the news straight up to this point...Kind of.
0 0 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 04/14/10 01:39:21 PM]
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5. 
AMD is in trouble good luck competing Intel's far superior products can't be good for their profit margins when Intel completely dominates the market and VIA is in a even worse situation.
0 0 [Posted by: knowom  | Date: 04/14/10 01:45:04 PM]
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6. 
the thing is... the nm number is just that, a number. Intel's 65nm had nearly equivalent specs to the 45nm from TSMC and AMD.
Even in the 100nm+ days we had specific components under 5nm... even inf 32nm CPUs there are specific component over 100nm... there is no single specific component for which the nm figure applies.

It is worrying to see global foundry and tsmc both cancel their 32nm process while intel is shipping products a full year ahead of schedule... Prices are going to be brutal.
0 0 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 04/14/10 08:59:28 PM]
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