Intel Unveils Second Gen Core Processor Line Up

| Product News

Intel unveiled the second generation versions of its Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors on Monday ahead of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. The processor line up, code named Sandy Bridge, was designed so computer makers could build thinner and lighter all-in-one computers and laptops, and includes 29 different processors.

The Sandy Bridge processors use a 32nm manufacturing process, and include the processor, memory controller and graphics on a single die. Intel claims the new chips run cooler, but offer faster overall performance and substantially faster graphics performance.

The chips include Intel Insider, which offers HD video streaming support from several content providers, Quick Sync Video, which offers faster video transfer from your computer to iPods and other media playback devices, and an updated version of Intel Wireless Display for playing computer content on HDTVs.

Computers using the new chips will be released throughout the year, and since Apple relies on the i3, i5 and i7 processors in its MacBook and iMac lineup, there’s a good chance Mac fans will get a taste of these chips, too.



Is this a home run, or just a stand-up double?

Reports of 50 to 100% better performance over previous high-end Intel mobile chips, and more than double the integrated graphics performance and battery life in most situations. AnandTech reports better graphics in 5 of 6 games tested.

Seems like a good improvement, but Intel appears to have more work to do.


There were some discussions about the graphics performance on MacRumors. There are some problems with the graphics performance. First, there are two versions of the integrated graphics, the 2000 and 3000. The 3000 will only be available on high-end machines, unlikely on laptops. Which doesn’t really make sense at all, because anyone with say a MacPro can easily add a cheap graphics card that will outperform the 3000, but laptop users are stuck with what they get.

Second, these five games tests were all done at lowest possible resolution and quality. With these settings, the graphics would be limited by the CPU, so the new stronger CPU and crappy integrated graphics would beat the old weaker CPU and much better graphics. Once you look at higher quality graphics, like graphics that the 320 can run without problems, the integrated graphics loses.

Which leaves Apple with the same problem for the 13” MacBook as before: They can add separate discrete graphics, which costs money, space and battery time, they can keep using the old Core 2 Duo, or they can use the new processor and significantly slow down the graphics.


Wait, so what about the Larabee? Have I been in a cave or the Larabee is still a future project? is it even from Intel? thanks


Gnasher729:  I am in accord with your analysis.  The only hope is that NVidia prevails against Intel in their lawsuit in Deleware, where NVidia is challenging Intel’s contention that the various cross licensing agreement among Intel and NVidia don’t give NVidia permission to integrate it graphics with the new bus architecture in Intel’s new CPUs.  However, it will take a while for that suit to be settled, and Apple can’t afford to wait for that.

Or Apple may turn to to AMD to provide an integrated CPU, memory controller, and graphics chip for at least some of its computers.  Or so certain rumors would have it.

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