Intel's follow-up to last year's Core processors hasn't exactly been a closely guarded secret. But even though the specs leaked months ago, what's clear now about Sandy Bridge is that Intel's taking direct aim at content.
The new batch of Core i3, i5, and i7 processors—twenty new products in all, including chipsets and adapters—look to address the complaints that were leveled against last year's integrated graphics. With Sandy Bridge, according to Intel's Erik Reid, you can expect to see an improvement of nearly 2x in graphics-intensive benchmark 3DMark06 compared with the current crop of Core processors. While you could expect a limpid 14 FPS on Starcraft 2 with your current Core machine, with Sandy Bridge you'll see a bump up to a playable 29FPS. Intel achieved the improvement by putting both graphics and processor on the same die, giving both access to all the cache memory in the system.
The benefits aren't just for gamers. Video transcoding also gets a major boost with what Intel's calling Quick Sync Video, which Reid says will result in a 17x reduction in time. That means converting a five-minute video to h.264 will take all of 18 seconds. Parents with Flip cams, take note.
In the content consumption arena, Intel's Wi-Di (wireless display) technology has gotten a spec bump as well, and will now transmit 1080p video from your PC to your television. Wi-Di 2.0 will require a Sandy Bridge processor, but the tech is compatible with the previous generation adaptor.
It's increasingly clear what role Intel intends Wi-Di to play; the guts company is moving towards movie delivery with its new Intel Insider initiative. With partners including with CinemaNow, Warner Bros., and others, Intel Insider is a system that delivers HD movies to the PC on or before the DVD release date, with hardware encryption and decryption. Pricing will be left up to the studios, who are also being promised a "protected environment" for their content.
So the speed upticks are here, and the usual efficiency improvements. But Sandy Bridge is really here as Intel's answer to the Video Age, a world in which we upload over 35 hours of video to YouTube every minute. And now we'll be able to do it much, much faster.
Intel Brings ‘Eye Candy' to Masses with Newest Laptop, PC Chips
Intel® Core™ Processor Features Create New Visual Experience, Lifestyle
• Introduces much anticipated, game-changing 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor
family. Adds a number of visually stunning features built right into the chips through
• Includes surprising and exciting new features such as, Intel® Quick Sync Video, Intel®
HD Graphics, Intel Wireless Display 2.0, and Intel® Insider™ including collaborations
with CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama* Digital Media Entertainment, Image
Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution* and others.
• Offers stunning video technology that converts a 4 minute HD video to play on an iPod
in only 16 secondsii or securely download HD movies for viewing on their local screen or
beaming from their laptop to their HDTV.
• 20 new processors, new chipsets and new wireless chips including new Intel® Core™ i7,
i5 and i3 processors, Intel® 6 Series Chipsets, and Intel® Centrino® Wi-Fi and WiMAX
adapters will power more than 500 new PC systems from all the major manufacturers
INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW, Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2010 – With more than one million computers selling each day, Intel Corporation introduced its game-changing 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family today. Intel highlighted several surprising new features, services and partnerships that combine to deliver an entirely new visual experience with processor graphics built in. More than 500 desktop and laptop PCs are expected from all major OEMs worldwide throughout the next year.
New features include Intel® Insider™, Intel® Quick Sync Video, and a new version of the company's award-winning Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi), which now adds 1080p HD and content protection for those wishing to beam premium HD content from their laptop screen to their TV. The company also revealed arrangements with CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama* Digital Media Entertainment, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution*.
"The new 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors represent the biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any other previous generation," said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager, PC Client Group, Intel. "The built-in visual capabilities enabled by these new processors are stunning. This combined with improved adaptive performance will revolutionize the PC experience in a way that is obvious for every user to see and appreciate – visibly smarter performance."
New Visual Experience for Today's Lifestyles
The 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family is the first "visibly smart" microarchitecture to combine visual and 3D graphics technology with performance-leading microprocessors on a single chip. Incorporating the newly architected Intel® HD Graphics on each 32nm die enables significant graphics performance improvements over previous generation graphics, for both HD media processing and mainstream gaming. The chips improve performance and yet still offer great battery life and the ability to design thinner, lighter and more innovative laptops and all-in-one PCs.
New processor graphics technology will focus on the areas where most people are computing today: high-definition (HD) video, photos, mainstream gaming, multi-tasking and online socializing and multimedia. Enhanced visual technologies like next-generation Intel® HD graphics are built into every 2nd Generation Intel Core processor. For consumers, this means a dramatically improved PC experience, with better overall power management, greater efficiency and great battery life.
Additionally, a surprise new feature of the next-generation PC and laptop processors, Intel® Insider™, will give consumers access to movies on their PCs in true high definition that were not available before. To show this feature, Eden used a clip from the feature film Inception* from Warner Bros.* and demonstrated how easy it would be to get the movie from CinemaNow* and watch it in full HD on a laptop.
In collaboration with Hollywood and Bollywood studios along with leading content distributors such as CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment*, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution* and others, Intel creates a protected environment for the distribution, storage and playback of premium content.
This enables content owners and video services to release more movies in high definition on the same date as DVD/Blu-ray* releases. Commercial distribution of HD premium content using the Intel Insider technology is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2011. and services will be available in Q1.
Building upon this Intel Insider innovation, Eden then demonstrated how consumers can now also use Intel® WiDi 2.0 to beam content like the Inception film to their big screen HDTVs. Additional Intel® WiDi 2.0 improvements include support for 1080pHD as well as protected content either streaming from the Internet or played locally from a Blu-ray* or DVD player.
Another unique element of the visual experience built into the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family is Intel® Quick Sync Video. This built-in hardware acceleration takes the wait out of editing and sharing videos with astonishing performance that completes in minutes what used to take hours. Now faster than ever, consumers can edit, convert, and share videos with friends and family. Intel estimated that a four minute HD video could now transfer to an iPod* for example in just 16 secondsii.
The power of the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors for immersive mainstream gaming was demonstrated with a teaser from Valve's* Portal 2*, one of the most anticipated game releases of 2011. Eden did the demonstration with precision Hydra motion controllers from Razer* using Sixense* MotionTouch* technology.
Smart Performance, Energy Efficiency and Intelligence Merge
The Core i3, i5 and i7 processors also include the enhanced Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. This feature automatically reallocates processor core and processor graphics resources to accelerate performance, giving users an immediate performance boost when and where it's needed.
Other new chip features include Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), Intel® InTru™ 3-D, and Intel® Clear Video Technology HD. Intel® InTru™ 3-D enables immersive stereoscopic 3D to 3D-capable HDTVs or monitors via HDMI 1.4, making movie excitement almost come out of the screen.
Intel® AVX increases performance for demanding visual applications like audio processing and professional video image editing like stitching together multiple photographs. Intel® Clear Video improves the visual quality and colour fidelity during video playback for a spectacular screen experience.
To make it easy for users to find a 2nd Generation Core-based system that is just right for their particular needs, Intel is also announcing a wide array of SKUs including Intel vPro™ enabled processors.
The chips are made on Intel's 32 nanometer manufacturing process on the company's second-generation high-k metal gate transistors. These unique advantages further boost performance; reduce power consumption for better battery life and smaller designs, and lower overall manufacturing costs.
Intel announced more than 20 processors, wireless adapters and chipsets, including new Intel® Core™ i7, i5 and i3 processors, Intel® 6 Series Chipsets, and Intel® Centrino® Wi-Fi and WiMAX adapters. More than 500 laptop and desktop PC platform designs are expected from allmajor computer makers worldwide based on these products.
The quad core (four processors inside one chip) based systems will be available on January 9 and additional dual-core versions in February. Video, benchmarks, photos and more details www.intel.com/newsroom/CES.