Intel Corp.’s ongoing transition to 32nm manufacturing process and Nehalem/Westmere micro-architecture products can be called pretty aggressive as the company is offering its latest chips targeting different price ranges and performance levels. However, sources close to Intel claim that the transition to Sandy Bridge chips on the desktop market will be even more rapid
As is known, Intel intends to start revenue shipments of microprocessors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture in the fourth quarter of the year. In order to prepare for the launch, which is scheduled on the first quarter of 2011, the world’s largest chipmaker will ship hundreds of thousands desktop processors powered by the new micro-architecture, which will represent around 3% of all desktop chips the company plans to ship in Q4 2010.
Already in Q1 2011, Intel plans to rather substantially increase the share of its Sandy Bridge chips among desktop processors to around 12% - 13% (~6% - Core i7, ~5% - Core i5, ~2% - Core i3). In Q2 2011 the share of Sandy-Bridge-based processors will be even greater since Intel intends to release Pentium processors powered by the new micro-architecture for entry-level markets and they usually require high volumes.
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. 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. Some Intel-series chipsets will also not support PCI.
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.