The first generation of processors was released a little over a year ago, so what is it that makes the second generation different? Well, if you haven’t been following the Sandy Bridge news, the new family of processors are all based on the 32nm microarchitecture from Intel. They are also the first to put processor, memory controller and graphics on the same die.
But what does that mean for you? Well, it means the package is smaller and the parts take advantage of each other more efficiently. While the graphics may not be as good as a discrete video card, they are a lot more powerful than before. According to Intel, the HD 2000 and 3000 processor graphics provide double the performance of Capella-based systems which coincides with early benchmark tests. Turbo Boost and Hyper-threading technologies have also been improved by Intel to a point at which the new chips enable higher levels of CPU performance. The new integrated chips reduce power consumption and can even turn off an idle optic drive activating “incredible battery life” according to Intel.
The new architecture means new CPUs, 29 to be exact, which include different versions of mobile and desktop Core i3, i5 and i7 models. Naming on the processors has changed. Now the processor’s name is followed by four numbers as opposed to the previous three. The first processors to ship in physical systems will be the quad-core i7 CPUs and should be hitting this week with the dual-core versions coming in February. Ultra-low voltage versions for portable laptops are coming and should be introduced in the second half of the year. Be sure to keep an eye out for some specially marked overclockable “K” series processors that will allow you to individually set the clockspeed ratios for each individual core.
This new generation of processors is sure to create quite the buzz in the computer world, especially for people who are enthusiasts or are looking to build a custom rig. There are a lot more details out about the processors now than there have been, but I can only imagine what will be revealed about them later. Keep checking back here periodically for all the details on the second generation Intel processors.