Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs Revealed at IDF

Nick Holland
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Intel’s Next Generation ‘Sandy Bridge’ CPUs

Intel’s next generation ‘Sandy Bridge’ CPUs were shown off at Intel’s Developer Conference (IDF) last week in San Francisco. The new CPUs will require a new socket – LGA1155 – and new motherboards featuring the Intel P67 and H67 chipset; more to come on those in a minute.

The CPUs themselves will have the naming scheme updated, although the current LGA1156 Core i3, i5 and i7 families remain the same. The differentiation comes in the simple form of a ’2′ before the SKU number, extending the three numbers to four. There will also be the K suffix for the odd multiplier unlocked CPU for overclockers as well, just like current i5-655K and i7-875K CPUs.

CPU Name Rated Clock Frequency L3 Cache Size Cores/ Threads Max Turbo IGP Frequency/Max Turbo TDP
Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4GHz 8MB 4 / 8 3.8GHz 850 / 1350MHz 95W
Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz 8MB 4 / 8 3.8GHz 850 / 1350MHz 95W
Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3GHz 6MB 4 / 4 3.7GHz 850 / 1100MHz 95W
Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 6MB 4 / 4 3.7GHz 850 / 1100MHz 95W
Intel Core i5 2400 3.1GHz 6MB 4 / 4 3.4GHz 850 / 1100MHz 95W
Intel Core i3 2120 3.3GHz 3MB 2 / 4 N/A 850 / 1100MHz 65W
Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz 3MB 2 / 4 N/A 850 / 1100MHz 65W

Intel IDF

Like ‘Clarkdale’ cored LGA1156 CPUs, all Sandy Bridge CPUs will have a graphics core built in. This will run at 850MHz (up from the current 733MHz) but will TurboBoost to an impressive 1,100-1,350MHz if the CPU load is low and graphics demand is high. The Intel HD graphics has also been overhauled an integrated into the same silicon as the CPU itself, which Intel claims improves performance considerably.

For the first time ever, Intel has also made every CPU base frequency is over 3GHz as well! Even the cheapest Core i3 2100 will have a 3.1GHz core clock, but only i5 upwards features TurboBoost and true quad core hardware inside. The i7s get HyperThreading for a total of eight threads – equal to current generation Core-i7 – and also an extra 2MB L3 cache and slightly more TurboBoost frequency on top.

At the moment it appears Intel will launch two K-series CPUs that have an unlocked multiplier, so overclockers should have a field day shooting for the MHz stars!

The CPUs also use the same dual channel DDR3 memory that current systems use, with a maximum support for 2,133MHz on P67 motherboards specifically, so plenty of memory bandwidth will be available.

Surprisingly Intel has also introduced dedicated video encoding hardware into the die too. This means, for example, if you need to convert recorded movies and TV shows for use on portable devices like a tablet or netbook, then the CPU has dedicated hardware to greatly speed up the process!

P67 Next Generation Motherboards

On the motherboard front the new P67 and H67 chipsets will pair this new CPU set, but it’s the P67 that brings most of the new features:

Firstly there’s two SATA 6Gbps ports out of the total six that are natively linked. This means better performance, which should go nicely with a range of new SSDs also launching in Q4!

Despite not being integrated into the chipset, USB3 will feature in some way on every board as it has now become part of Intel’s basic specification. To backup high-speed connections such as this, the core PCI-Express has been upgraded to Generation-2 as well.

Even though there’s still only a single PCI-Express 16x lane from the CPU, P67 boards will likely come with multi-GPU that will split this into two 8x, and as usual we’ll also have micro ATX and full ATX sizes to choose from!

Now we just have to wait a few more months to see what tasty new (P8?) motherboards ASUS is cooking up to go with a new Core i5-2500K!

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