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[Click to Enlarge] Sandy Bridge is here with lots of new CPUs and chipsets. The chips are Intel's first new architecture since Nehalem.  (Source: Intel via Anandtech)

[Click to Enlarge] Sandy Bridge offers many new and improved graphics technologies.  (Source: Intel via LAN OC)

Like the Nehalem series, the Sandy Bridge chips will be labelled Celerons, Pentiums, Core i3s, Core i5s, Core i7s, and Core i7 Extremes.  (Source: LAN OC)

Westmere (Nehalem's die-shrink) required two different chips in its package.  (Source: Intel via PC Perspective)

Sandy Bridge merges thse two dies into a single 32-nm die with coherent cache.  (Source: Intel via LAN OC)

You'll need to buy a new motherboard to use Sandy Bridge. Sandy Bridge CPUs have one less pin (1155) than the entry-level Westmere chips (1156).  (Source: LAN OC)
Sandy Bridge is upon us

Way back at the Intel Developers Forum 2009, Intel Corp. was talking about Sandy Bridge, the code-named architecture successor to Nehalem.  Nehalem had already seen a die shrink from 45 nm to 32 nm; shrunken Nehalem chips (which featured lower power usage and a few other tweaks) were known as Westmere.  Sandy Bridge, like Westmere is produced at the 32 nm node.

Nehalem and Sandy Bridge are "Tock" processors -- a new architecture -- by Intel's terminology.  Penryn and Westmere are the "Tick" -- die shrink -- that preceded them (at the 45 nm and 32 nm process nodes, respectively).

Sandy Bridge was talked about more at recent Intel earnings reports, and in recent weeks Sandy Bridge-based laptops were leaked in various foreign tech publications.

On Monday, Intel kicked off what should be a week of exciting announcements from various players in the electronics industry by finally revealing Sandy Bridge in all its glory.

We have a roundup of various Sandy Bridge reviews from other sites here


I. A CPU By Any Other Name

i. General Branding "Core 2011"

Rather than ditching the "Core ix" brand name, Intel is sticking with it.  You can call Sandy Bridge Core series CPUs "Core generation 2" or  "Core 2011" or some other catchy moniker.  But the point is the name is staying the same.

The good here is that there's comfort in familiarity and customers won't be taken aback by strange new names.  The decidedly bad thing about Intel picking this branding is that it fails to convey that Core 2011 CPUs are decidedly different than Westmere or 45 nm Nehalem designs.  But for better or worse, that's what Intel decided and we have to live with it.

ii. How Many Cores are in a Core ix?


Likewise customers will have to live with a rather confusing mix of "ix" brand modifiers on the desktop and laptop side.  What is an i3, an i5, or an i7?  Well if you guessed a 2-core, 4-core, and 8-core CPU, respectively you may be part right, part wrong or completely wrong -- depending on whether you're talking about desktop or laptop CPUs.

The bewildering distinction of what makes a Core i7 or a Core i3 is summed up below.

The 2 core, 4 thread CPU can be referred to as a Core i3 or Core i5, depending on its part number, on the desktop side; or a Core i5 or Core i7, on the notebook side

Four core, four thread processors fall under the Core i5 distinction on the desktop side, but aren't announced for the notebook side

Four core, eight thread processors are referred to as either Core i7 or Core i7 Extreme on the notebook side, but are referred to as Core i7 only on the desktop side.  

There also are expected to be 6 core, 12 thread; and 8 core, 16 thread desktop CPUs in the Core i7 and Core i7 extreme desktop brands. 

Again, we think Intel's naming scheme leaves much to be desired, but we're not marketing gurus -- perhaps they know something we don't.

Now we get to the actual CPU numbers.  If you can figure out by now what a Core i7 desktop is versus a Core i7 laptop, you are ready for this next step.

iii. Model Lettering/Numbering

Diving into lettering and numbering, you'll find more of the same -- a relatively confusing slew of numbers and letters to digest.

On the desktop side, the Pentium (2 thread, 2 core) entry-level processors are named "G6xx" and "G8xx" with letters possibly being tacked on the end (more on this later).

Core i3s are "21xx", Core i5s are "23xx"/"24xx"/"25xx", and Core i7s are "26xx".  To our knowledge the precise name of the high-end Core i7 Extreme hasn't yet been announced.

On the desktop side you might see some letters tacked on to the end of your CPU name.  "K" means that you have an unlocked core multiplier, perfect for overclocking (goody!). "S" means you have a more energy efficient processor for the same clock speed.  And "T" means you have an even more energy efficient processor for the same clock speed.

When it comes to laptops, the entry level Celeron (currently only one has been announced) bears the "B8xx".  Core i5 models are "25xx", Core i7s are "26xx", "27xx", and "28xx".  The Core i7 Extreme will be "29xx".  Again, the model name doesn't necessarily correspond to any certain core/thread count.  For example a "26xx" mobile CPU can have two or four cores.

The mobile processors also have letters of significance on the end.  The most common is M, which simply means (dual-core) mobile processors, and "QM" means quad-core mobile processors.  "XM" means you have an unlocked multiplier.  "LM" means a low-voltage mobile processor.  And "E", "QE", and "LE" stand for an embedded (dual-core) mobile CPU, a quad-core embedded mobile CPU, and a low-voltage (dual-core) embedded mobile CPU, respectively.

iv. Chipsets

To make matters even more confusing, Intel will be releasing a total of 10 chipsets.  On the laptop side there's QS67, QM67, HM67, HM65, and UM67.  On the desktop side there's P67, H67, Q65, Q67, B65.

Now you know the Core 2011 series in its full naming glory.

II. What's in a "Sandy Bridge" CPU?

Westmere brought a PCIe/memory controller and integrated graphics processor in to the chip package; essentially moving two key components of the chipset inside the chip package.  However, the I/O controller and the iGPU were bundled together on a separate 45 nm chip, while the CPU was a separate 32 nm die.

i.  One Die to Rule Them All

With Sandy Bridge we finally see a true one-die solution.  An iGPU is onboard, as is a multi-purpose I/O controller, responsible for memory control, PCIe communications, etc.  Best of all, these components share a common L3 cache, which is 3, 4, 6, or 8 MB on the laptop processor models (up from Nehalem's max of 4 MB) and 3, 6 or 8 MB on the desktop processors (interestingly, down slightly from the 12 MB found in most Nehalem processors).  To pull off the feat of a shared common cache, Intel uses a ring-bus design.

The new iGPU can easily handle basic graphics tasks like play videos.  In doing so it can save the power required to run a full GPU, which is especially important in the laptop space.  It can also, for the first time, play some modern game titles (set to the lowest resolution, of course) with acceptable frame rates (e.g. Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dragon Age: Origins).

The iGPU is a brand new designed dubbed 2000 or 3000 HD.  In the desktop models it runs at 650-850 MHz and can be turbo clocked up to 1100-1350 MHz.  While that makes it competitive in clock-speeds with traditional graphics chips from AMD and NVIDIA, it still has far less shaders than a traditional GPU and hence can't draw as pretty graphics as fast.  

Early benchmarks show them pulling off twice the performance of Intel's previous gen offerings.  The performance bump appears to be largely from the clock speed increase, as the number of execution units (12) has stayed the same from the previous generation.

To put things in context, a Sandy Bridge chip's iGPU, according to Anandtech can outperform the Radeon HD 5450, an entry-level graphics card from AMD's previous generation.

The GPU is only capable of handling DirectX 10.1 graphics in Windows and can't run DirectX 11 in its current form.

ii. Performance, Features Get Bumped

The chip also packs other power, processing, and multi-threading improvements.  According to AnandTech, these improvements amount to a 20 percent performance improvement on average over identically priced previous generation offerings for 4 and 8 core varieties.  

The performance bump in the dual-core doesn't seem as noticeable -- AnandTech reports it to be around 5 percent on average bump.  Intel claims its multi-core performance improvements can reach 60 percent, but those kinds of numbers are yet to be seen in real-life benchmarks (but this is pretty typical -- CPU makers often exaggerate performance increases and/or cherry-pick best-case scenarios).

One significant improvement in the I/O end is that idle optical drives can be turned off to save power.  After the LCD screen, CPU, and chipset, this is one of the more power-hungry components on the laptop, so this should definitely be a boost in battery life (even when idle, DVD drives on laptops reportedly pull down several watts).

Overclocking is expected to be great on the new chips which feature unlocked multipliers. AnandTech was able to overclock quad and eight core desktop Sandy Bridge chips to 4.4 GHz on only the stock air-cooling solution.  Where as in the past overclockers had to muck with both the BLCK and the multiplier to get optimal results, you now generally leave the BCLK alone and only play with the unlocked multiplier.

iii. Socket and Chipset

To use a Sandy Bridge CPU on the desktop end, you will have to use a Socket 1155-capable motherboard.  The old Socket-1156 design from the Nehalem era has been ditched.  It can be assumed that the laptop will also use an 1155-pin design, meaning that the 1155-pin Sandy Bridge mobile chips won't be available as an upgrade option for previous Core-based notebooks (which had 1156-pin G1 model CPU sockets).

The one good thing here is that the majority of CPUs on the desktop side will use the same socket (Socket-1155) versus the previous generation, which saw multiple different sockets.  The only chips to use a different socket on the desktop side will be the highest end Core i7/Core i7 Extremes, which use Socket 1356 (not to be confused with Intel's previous gen. Socket 1366).  The net message, though, is you will be able to use more CPUs with your socket

Intel promises its new chipsets can handle 1080p resolution 3D (just be sure you wear some goofy glasses), which should be handy for the whole 3 or 4 worthwhile games and movies that currently support this technology.  

Slightly more utilitarian is the Sandy Bridge-based chipset's improved ability to connect to HDTVs and display your screen wirelessly.  Dubbed "Wi-Fi Display", WiDi 2.0 expects to bring improvements (the ability to stream HD video), but won't eliminate a bit of lag or the need for a Wi-Fi receiver for your HDTV.

Precise details on the various chipsets are scarce at this point, but a few sites have published some information.  For example, LAN OC reveals that P67 won't support HDMI/DVI out and may cut down the 16 PCIe lanes down to 8 GB/s.  By contrast the H67 features 16 PCIe lanes with 16 GB/s throughput and the ability to out HDMI/DVI/etc. (which Intel calls "Digital Display" technology).

III.  Conclusion and the Outlook Ahead

i. Buyer's Outlook, AMD's Answer, and Ivy Bridge

If you're in the market for a new computer, you'll probably want to hold off about a month.  Computers -- both laptops and desktops -- based on Sandy Bridge chips shouldn't take long to arrive.  Many should be announced this week at CES 2011.

To recap, quad-core or higher Sandy Bridge CPUs should give you about a 20 percent performance increase and perhaps an even nicer battery life boost in the laptop space.  And they're about the same price as the previous generation models, so Sandy Bridge notebooks seem a no-brainer, if you're picking an Intel-based laptop.

The only hesitation in the desktop space will likely come from the fact that you'll need to buy a new motherboard to use a Sandy Bridge CPU.  But if you value performance or are looking to build a brand new system, it makes sense to take the dive.

Of course if you can wait a bit more, AMD should be releasing it's own next generation architecture Bulldozer (desktop primarily) and Bobcat (laptop) cores.  Performance on these chips is unknown, but Bobcat holds at least one key advantage over mobile Sandy Bridge chips, by offering full on-die DirectX 11 graphics, something Intel won't offer till next year.  

The introduction of AMD's competitors should help to force Intel to possibly drop the price of its Sandy Bridge offerings, so that's another reason to possibly wait for their release.

Looking ahead, Intel's next move will be to shrink Sandy Bridge to 22 nm, code-named Ivy-Bridge.  These chips will likely be introduced in about a year -- January 2012 seems most probable.  They will feature a significantly improved integrated GPU (thanks to the doubling of the execution units onboard).  This will allow the new iGPUs to support DirectX 11.  A cache increase seems likely too, given the addition of more hungry iGPU components.

Ivy-Bridge should also feature power improvements, given the smaller transistor size and new processes to reduce current leakage.

ii. Far Down the Road

Looking even farther ahead, in 2013 (again, likely in January), Intel will introduce Haswell CPUs, the next major architecture.  One big boost with Haswell will be the inclusion of 8-cores as the default for Intel's chips.

And in 2014 (assuming all goes well with processes), Intel will shrink Haswell to 16 nm, a shrink that is code-named Rockwell.  This may be a significant release, as for current die technologies 15-16 nm is expected to be the physical limit of optical (X-Ray) lithography.  

However, it is possible that probe-based lithographic techniques maybe be able to position individual atoms on a chip (a silicon atom takes up around 0.5 nm in a typical crystal lattice), allowing even smaller silicon-based transistors.  Another much discussed possibility is 3D chip stacking.



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Down the track ...
By drycrust3 on 1/3/2011 1:19:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The decidedly bad thing about Intel picking this branding is that it fails to convey that Core 2011 CPUs are decidedly different than Westmere or 45 nm Nehalem designs.

I am looking for a good second hand Desktop PC on an auction site, and the problem with this strategy is that it could result in people being mislead regarding what sort of processor is inside a PC they are wanting to buy.
For example, in just this article, we find that an i5 processor can be either a dual core or a quad core processor, while an i7 can be either 4 core, 6 core, or 8 core!
This means that when a person sees a desktop on an auction website which has, say, an i7 processor, they will probably be mislead as to what the processor is capable of because Intel's website says a 32nm i7 processor has 6 cores and not that it has one of 4 cores, 6 cores, or 8 cores. This in turn, could easily result in people trading stuff which is worth more or worth less than what the labelling says it is.




RE: Down the track ...
By SandmanWN on 1/3/2011 1:26:00 PM , Rating: 3
If they don't list the model number price it like its the slowest i7. Seems like an obvious conclusion.


RE: Down the track ...
By drycrust3 on 1/3/2011 1:46:47 PM , Rating: 1
If what Jason wrote is correct, and I believe it is, then when you see a PC with an i7 processor you won't know that it could have 4 cores, 6 cores, or 8 cores because Intel says that processor is only made in 6 core configuration!
Look:
http://www.intel.com/products/processor/corei7/spe...

"32nm ... i7-970... Number of Cores ... 6"

So if someone is selling an "8 core i7" they could be branded a liar because Intel's own website is saying that processor is only made with 6 cores, or a person may bid for a "32nm i7" thinking it has 6 cores when it has just 4!
Sure, most of us won't care as long as our PC lets us browse and watch movies or whatever, but there are people that do care and they won't want to buy a PC, test it, and then re-sell it just because Intel has a surplus of i7 labels and is too lazy to put the right information on their website.


RE: Down the track ...
By sviola on 1/3/2011 2:24:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well, they need to list the processor number. In Intel's website you can find information on number of cores in a processor. For instance,

the core i5 750 has 4 cores and 4 threads, whilst the core i5 670 has 2 cores and 4 threads. It's all available there. You just have to look at the specification of the processor.


RE: Down the track ...
By AnnihilatorX on 1/3/2011 2:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
The intel link you put up has no information on the Sandybridge parts yet

i7-970 is a Westmere processor

The only i7 launched on Sandybridge is i7-2600K
The 2 in 2600 means it's 2nd Generation. This is therefore a different family altogether, and it only has 4 cores.

There may be a i7-2900 for example in future whether it may be 6 or 8 cores. But I don't think it's confusing.


RE: Down the track ...
By AnnihilatorX on 1/3/2011 2:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Anandtech has a good image to explain this for the troubled

http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/cpu/intel/sand...


RE: Down the track ...
By drycrust3 on 1/3/2011 3:38:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
But I don't think it's confusing.


I'm glad you don't because as I said before, a lot of differences aren't conveyed due to the similarities in the labelling. For example, the physical address size of the current range of i7 processors seems to be around 36 bits, but the new range has a 46 physical address, not that this will make much difference to Windows users because Microsoft has limited them to 4GB of RAM. Down the track, however, Microsoft will change their stance on this.


RE: Down the track ...
By JKflipflop98 on 1/4/2011 7:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
Hi. We've all been using 64 bit windows for quite some time. Join us, won't you?


RE: Down the track ...
By Makaveli on 1/3/2011 4:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you go to an auction site and willing to drop hundreds if not thousands of dollars on an item and didn't do your product research before hand that is your fault not intels.

Those that are unprepared lose kind of like real life!


Question.
By bah12 on 1/3/2011 1:43:06 PM , Rating: 2
I've asked this at AT as well.

From what I understand we cannot have a fully overclocked QuickSync CPU right?

QuickSync needs the monitor on the integrated port. However to fully overclock the K series you need it to be on the P chipset, and thus no on die GPU. So is my conclusion correct that you can either have QuickSync OR you can overclock, but not both?




RE: Question.
By sviola on 1/3/2011 2:30:30 PM , Rating: 1
From what I understand, you can put a second monitor running from the integrated gpu, even in the p series board.


RE: Question.
By bah12 on 1/3/2011 3:51:56 PM , Rating: 3
But the P series has no GPU support and thus no place to hook it up.

Just frustrating to me everyone is hailing QuickSync and easy/cheap overclocks as a the best things ever (and they certainly are impressive), but it is never clearly pointed out that you can't have both. If my assumptions are correct this is a huge ball drop on Intel's part.


RE: Question.
By pjl321 on 1/3/2011 5:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
@bah12

Yes i think you are right, as the HD 3000 GPU can't be 'seen' if you have a discrete graphics card installed.

Intel are going to have to change this somehow as customers who want the best will want to overclock and will want a high-end graphics card too but if you do this then you lose Sandy Bridge's best features!!


RE: Question.
By bah12 on 1/4/2011 9:18:09 AM , Rating: 2
According to the AT article you can use a discrete card, but you'd have to run a dual monitor setup with the 2nd monitor on the HD 3000 port. Problem there is you cant get that on the P chipset that is the only one you can overclock on. Oh well it is still a better chip in every way, just disappointing that we have to make such a choice. Seems like a big waste of die space to me.


"Second" gen Core CPUs?
By CZroe on 1/3/2011 4:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
"Intel Officially Unleashes Its Second Gen Core CPUs on the World"

Uhh... I think they mean 2nd-gen Core i-series CPUs.

Heck, even the Core 2 series has come and gone.




RE: "Second" gen Core CPUs?
By AstroCreep on 1/4/2011 7:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I thought the same thing too. I figured that of the "Core" series that Core and Core 2 would have been 1st gen, the previous Core i were the 2nd, and this new Core i would have been the 3rd, but even the Intel slide listed at the top of the article says "Second Generation Intel Core Processor Family".

Good to see that DT changed the article name though; it just makes more sense.


Not too excited
By Astral Abyss on 1/3/2011 5:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
I guess maybe I'll be more excited once I see the performance benchmarks, but right now these don't seem all that amazing.

I'm even less excited about paying for the priveledge of overclocking. For the first time in a long time I'm actually more interested in AMDs Bulldozer and hope it turns out to be competitive, if for no other reason than to keep Intel's prices reasonable.




RE: Not too excited
By silverblue on 1/4/2011 3:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
I have the sneaky suspicion that Bulldozer will be between Westmere and Sandy Bridge in performance; faster in some cases, slower in most. I think AMD's reasoning for not having on-die graphics with Bulldozer is because it's a high-end part and you'd be more likely to pair it with a discrete card, whereas Llano has "good enough" CPU performance paired with a better GPU than SB has, thus satisfying the mainstream segment of the market.

I'm not sure I completely agree with their approach, especially considering Bulldozer's FPUs aren't exactly supposed to be game-changing, but I guess we'll find out over the next few months. The lack of an on-die GPU plus AMD's lower margins should make Bulldozer cheaper, but as of now, all we have are vague internal benchmarks and the knowledge that Bulldozer will support far more instruction sets than Phenom ever did (which I still believe to be a reason why Phenom II never truly threatened the i-Core series clock for clock and core for core). We could end up in a situation where AMD is less than a tick or tock behind Intel and brings out a good product that might be the performance leader for a short period of time before Intel's next product... but that's got to be a way off.


Intel and Hollywood
By ShaolinSoccer on 1/3/2011 7:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
How come there is nothing mentioned about this in the article?

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1934536/i...




RE: Intel and Hollywood
By Lerianis on 1/3/2011 8:42:12 PM , Rating: 1
Non-issue. They were whining about the DRM that Microsoft included (and which had to be actively asked for by an application to use) in Windows Vista and 7. What are those now?

Oh yeah.... THE solution for OS for PC's.


By nah on 1/3/2011 1:19:59 PM , Rating: 2


http://www.anandtech.com/show/1446/3
quote:
You can see that Intel also has 2C (dual core) designs in their roadmap, as well as a highly speculative 16C (sixteen core!) Itanium. Whether or not Tukwila will ever see the light of day is anyone's guess - it could simply be a mythical design that some hardware sites fantasize about. Transistor count on such a chips would likely be several BILLION transistors. (On a different note, I was recently up in Tukwila, WA purchasing a mountain bike from a pawn shop. They didn't have any processors for sale, unfortunately.)




Typo
By rstove02 on 1/3/2011 1:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To make matters even more confusing, Intel will be releasing a total of 10 chipsets. On the desktop side there's QS67, QM67, HM67, HM65, and UM67. On the laptop side there's P67, H67, Q65, Q67, B65.


Think the desktop and laptop groupings are reversed.




To paraphrase Van Halen
By YashBudini on 1/4/2011 2:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
I don't feel unleashed.




DO NOT BUY THESE!!!
By bighairycamel on 1/5/2011 2:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
A rarely reported feature of these chips is a DRM hardware layer.
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Intel-Builds-Sa...

The MPAA has pressured another 3rd party into catering to its agenda. I love my i5 but this is uncalled for. I will switch to AMD with my next build.




Not interested
By Ammohunt on 1/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not interested
By imaheadcase on 1/3/2011 2:26:17 PM , Rating: 3
Try not guessing and reading instead then.
Yes you can shut it off.


RE: Not interested
By Ammohunt on 1/3/2011 5:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
Just becasue you shut it off in the bios doesn't mean it can be disabled cleanly(like current integrated graphics).


RE: Not interested
By StevoLincolnite on 1/3/2011 9:47:06 PM , Rating: 3
Intel's implementation is fully power gated.
Once you disable it, it ain't going to be using any energy hence it's "Cleanly disabled".

AMD's implementation I would also imagine would be power gated when it's released.


RE: Not interested
By Da W on 1/4/2011 12:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
Intel best of breed IGP on a chip barely matches AMD's 3 year old IGP on motherboard.
What will Fusion be like? I would bet it can match a radeon 5770. With some luck, will be able to run in crossfire with a discrete card. NOW we're talking.


RE: Not interested
By StevoLincolnite on 1/4/2011 12:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
Impossible to get Radeon 5770-like performance currently, the IGP is using system memory, or more specifically only DDR3 and not GDDR5.


RE: Not interested
By BSMonitor on 1/4/2011 1:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
The other factor to consider in GPU performance is the fact that high powered GPU's sit on their own socket and have their own cooling.

It will not be as simple as AMD just dropping RADEON architecture into the CPU die. Look at the power envelope alone for even a Radeon 4850. And then you have 4-6 CPU's inside the same die.. All of which must be at or below 130W for the high end? Some of the Sandy Bridge Quad CPU's are 95W parts.. That is very impressive.


RE: Not interested
By walk2k on 1/3/2011 2:38:53 PM , Rating: 3
No serious gamer would even consider integrated for a second but I fear Intel has SADLY missed the mark here.

quote:
To put things in context, a Sandy Bridge chip's iGPU, according to Anandtech can outperform the Radeon HD 5450, an entry-level graphics card from AMD's previous generation.

So it's a generation behind at the most BASIC performance level....
quote:
The GPU is only capable of handling DirectX 10.1 graphics in Windows and can't run DirectX 11 in its current form.


and a generation behind in feature set. Sad.


RE: Not interested
By theapparition on 1/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not interested
By Nutzo on 1/3/2011 5:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
For most business use, the current i5 integrated video was fine. With the SB upgrade, I don't see any need for a seperate video card at the office.
I'll likely start buying the i5-2500 quad core's once they are avaiable, assuming the price is about the same. Should be a good upgrade from the current i5 dual cores.


RE: Not interested
By Aloonatic on 1/3/2011 5:56:41 PM , Rating: 3
TO be honest, a lot of businesses would probably prefer if their machines had graphics that were worse than those on Sandybridge, or even Intel 4xxx MHD series IGPs, as what is the point in them? Other than allowing their employees to waste bandwidth on 720p HD videos on YouTube?

I'll admit, I've not had the time to read into this much, but the other aspect with business users however is multiple monitors. What's the deal there with SandyB? Most of the time we just buy the cheapest graphics card that we can with the correct outputs on the back for our displays.


RE: Not interested
By walk2k on 1/3/2011 5:30:50 PM , Rating: 1
Fair point, but consoles aren't running on hires monitors at 1920x1200 (or higher). About 90% of PS3 and 100% of Xbox games are 720p (1280x720) or less.

Sure, integrated is fine for routine web/email and making better HD video playback (though again mostly 1280x720) is a worthy goal, still what they've paper launched today is ALREADY obsolete.. where will it be 6 months after the products actually hit the shelves?

You're talking about performance I can already beat with a bargain-bin $30 video card. Yes, it's another card, it's more power, etc etc... important points with a laptop, not so much in a desktop.

Oh and Apple? Definitely not concerned with games.


RE: Not interested
By walk2k on 1/3/2011 5:38:14 PM , Rating: 1
$25 after rebate AND it does DX11 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

NO of course I didn't expect high-end $400-video card level or even mid-$250 video card level performance from a Sandy Bridge, but Intel themselves have been touting this as the "end of Nvidia/ATI" and I just don't see it for anything but the most basic non-graphic intensive computing, and already intel-integrated was OK for that.


RE: Not interested
By StevoLincolnite on 1/4/2011 2:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone who thinks that integrating a GPU on-die with a CPU is going to even remotely compete with a high-end GPU is to put it bluntly... Dreaming. (Fusion is no exception.)

Here is why: Bandwidth.
On-die graphics *will* have to use System memory, which is vastly inferior to dedicated memory of the 256bit+ GDDR5 variety.
You can have all the Tessellation, Shader pipelines you want.
But at the end of the day it's still going to be limited by Single/Dual Channel DDR3 memory.

And that is how nVidia and AMD are going to still be needed for a very very long time to come.


RE: Not interested
By walk2k on 1/5/2011 12:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point. Nobody expected it to compete with high end (by that you mean $400-500 video cards you realize). Even Intel admitted this back in Sept --

(from this Cnet article - http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20016628-64.html )
quote:
"We're not trying to target the most high-end discrete (standalone) card. We don't have the bandwidth, we don't have the power budget. We're trying to do the best experience for the mobile platform," said Opher Kahn, senior principal engineer on the Sandy Bridge design team.

BUT they also said this:
quote:
"With Sandy Bridge, Intel is finally making gaming performance a priority . While the number of shaders (processing units) in Sandy Bridge only increased by 50 percent, they are much more efficient and run at higher frequency so the performance gain is three times or more-- putting popular games into reach for many more customers,"
(Emphasis added)

Sorry, but nobody is going to run games on these things unless they have NO other choice.


RE: Not interested
By Skywalker123 on 1/3/2011 11:40:47 PM , Rating: 1
the IGP will be cheaper than a discrete card.


RE: Not interested
By StevoLincolnite on 1/4/2011 2:14:30 AM , Rating: 2
Will it?

With it being moved on-die we are loosing transistor budget to the IGP, which may have been otherwise used for improved CPU performance.

Just food for thought.


RE: Not interested
By SPOOFE on 1/4/2011 3:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
which may have been otherwise used for improved CPU performance.

What needs improving, other than highly-parallel workloads for which they include an on-die GPU?


RE: Not interested
By Ammohunt on 1/3/2011 5:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
One point that is being missed is that in order to upgrade your GPU you will need to have a mobo with a slot that supports add-in video cards otherwise you are upgrading your CPU(fat Chance of that down the road)so why not just buy a board with a PCIe slot and a el cheapo video card out of the gate?


RE: Not interested
By SPOOFE on 1/4/2011 1:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
One point that is being missed is that in order to upgrade your GPU you will need to have a mobo with a slot that supports add-in video cards

Yeah, I hear those are rare. They use some obscure, proprietary interface with a weird name, something like "Pee Cee Eye Express Ex-Sixteen". I've never heard of it either.

quote:
why not just buy a board with a PCIe slot and a el cheapo video card out of the gate?

I'm always asking myself why I refrain from spending money I don't need to spend. I still can't figure it out.


RE: Not interested
By Ammohunt on 1/5/2011 1:52:09 PM , Rating: 1
You should be asking yourself "Should i wait till i have grown some hair on my balls before i post comments where adults converse"


RE: Not interested
By silverblue on 1/3/2011 6:28:45 PM , Rating: 1
Anandtech's benchmarks for mobile Sandy Bridge show the new HD graphics losing a lot of performance when you turn up the settings to Medium. It gets 28.2fps average on Assassin's Creed in 1024x768 with low settings - are you honestly telling me that's as good as what the PS3 and 360 are doing? The sheer clock speed of the part is what takes it away from being a minor step up from the previous integrated Intel graphics. The fact it does so much with so few transistors is impressive, though. Let's not lose sight of the lack of bandwidth offered by using a system bus, something which would be mainly solved with Ivy Bridge should it get stacked memory. Sure, it can beat a Mobility HD 5470 more often that not, but that 5470 runs at half the speed anyway. Should AMD ever decide to improve onboard integrated graphics (unlikely with Brazos and Llano coming), it wouldn't take them much to remove the HD 3000 from top spot.

Regardless of any of this, you're not going to be running games with good image quality on either the HD 2000 or 3000. It's just nowhere near what we're used to seeing from today's consoles - how can this be good enough?


RE: Not interested
By maroon1 on 1/3/2011 8:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anandtech's benchmarks for mobile Sandy Bridge show the new HD graphics losing a lot of performance when you turn up the settings to Medium. It gets 28.2fps average on Assassin's Creed in 1024x768 with low settings - are you honestly telling me that's as good as what the PS3 and 360 are doing?


Could you show me a link to review you are talking about ?

I didn't see any benchmark for Assassin's Creed in anandech review

Here is a review for mobile sandy birdge that has intel HD3000 graphics
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4084/intels-sandy-br...

The results look impressive in some of the games. For example, it got 52 fps in dirt 2 running at 1366x766 on low settings. Thats good result for a built-in GPU


RE: Not interested
By silverblue on 1/4/2011 1:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
I would take a look, however Anandtech is currently down. I'll try again later.

52fps may be good but let's remember it's with low settings.


RE: Not interested
By silverblue on 1/4/2011 2:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
As promised...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4084/intels-sandy-br...

And I made a boo-boo, it's in 1366x768 so a little more impressive but still not exactly groundbreaking. However, judging by the performance in a few other games, it's perfectly fine if you're happy at this resolution and detail level - you might even get some very high framerates thanks to the limit being pushed back onto the CPU. I suppose it all depends on the games you like to play.

Just don't expect anything astounding with Medium detail. :)


RE: Not interested
By maroon1 on 1/3/2011 7:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see the point of DX11 in mainstream GPU

Mainstream GPU aren't powerful enough to handle DX11 extra features at reasonable performance


RE: Not interested
By someguy123 on 1/3/2011 10:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, let's compare an integrated, low cost, low power GPU against current discrete GPU standards.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














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