updated 05:20 am EST, Mon January 3, 2011
29 new CPUs and 2x graphics performance
Intel has announced its second generation Core processor family, codenamed Sandy Bridge. The new chips are manufactured using Intel's new 32nm process and still carry the Core i3, i5 and i7 branding despite notable architecture enhancements. The new line is comprised of 29 new processors and are the first from Intel to put the memory controller and graphics on the same die as the processor. The chips generate less heat while delivering significant performance boosts. Also improved is the integrated graphics performance of the new HD 2000 and 3000 cores, which are up to 200 percent faster than the outgoing GMA 4500 series.
Turbo boost and Hyper-threading performance has been further optimized culminating in a performance boost of up to 60 percent on mobile quad-core chips. At the same time, Intel has also managed to boost battery life, which it describes as "incredible", by using smart technologies such as switching off an idle optical drive so that it is not draining power when not in use.
Several manufacturers are already shipping the new chips in the form of quad-core i7 equipped notebooks, although dual-core models aren't expected to ship until February. Ultra-low voltage (ULV) chips for ultraportable notebooks are expected to arrive in the second half of 2011. System builders and modders will also have high-end 'K' series processors to play with that allow individual speeds to be set for each core when matched with a P67 motherboard.