Monday, April 18, 2011

Intel - Sandy Bridge -Changing the future

In coming months of 2011, Intel is going to launch a new series of processors that are going to spice up the computing world.

Intel has in the past month unveiled “the next evolution of the PC” featuring Sandy Bridge, its highly anticipated microprocessor. The processor takes advantage of the latest graphic technology and 32 nanometer silicon technology. In fact, Sandy Bridge is the first 32 nanometer based graphics engine in the industry.

Sandy Bridge is also the first microprocessor that integrates HD processor graphics, a shared L3 cache that is both part of the graphics card and the low power, high performance core side. It features 1.16 billion transistors on one chip. Which is impressive, considering the human brain has anywhere between 20-25 billion “transistors,” or synapses (artificial brains here we come!). Sandy Bridge’s advanced architecture gives users the ability to transcode (moving video from one format to another seamlessly) in record breaking time. For example, the processor can convert an HD formatted video into an iPad or iPhone format in under 16 seconds. The new processor also allows users to edit and watch 3D Blu-ray videos, and then send them wirelessly from a laptop to a large-screen digital TV.

Sandy Bridge is Intel’s best integration with Microsoft to date. As per estimates it will represent over 1/3 of Intel’s corporation’s revenue and a total of $125 billion dollars of revenue for the PC Industry. Watch the following video for more :

Sandy Bridge is a 32nm CPU with an on-die GPU. While Clarkdale/Arrandale have a 45nm GPU on package, Sandy Bridge moves the GPU transistors on die. Not only is the GPU on die but it shares the L3 cache of the CPU.

There are two different GPU configurations, referred to internally as 1 core or 2 cores. A single GPU core in this case refers to 6 EUs, Intel’s graphics processor equivalent (NVIDIA would call them CUDA cores). Sandy Bridge will be offered in configurations with 6 or 12 EUs.

While the numbers may not sound like much, the Sandy Bridge GPU is significantly redesigned compared to what’s out currently. Intel already announced a ~2x performance improvement compared to Clarkdale/Arrandale, and I can say that after testing Sandy Bridge Intel has been able to achieve at least that.

Both the CPU and GPU on SB will be able to turbo independently of one another. If you’re playing a game that uses more GPU than CPU, the CPU may run at stock speed (or lower) and the GPU can use the additional thermal headroom to clock up. The same applies in reverse if you’re running something computationally intensive.

On the CPU side little is known about the execution pipeline. Sandy Bridge enables support for AVX instructions, just like Bulldozer. The CPU will also have dedicated hardware video transcoding hardware to fend off advances by GPUs in the transcoding space.

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