Intel launches Sandy Bridge micro-architecture
On Monday, Intel announced new "2nd generation Core" desktop and mobile microprocessors, based on Sandy Bridge micro-architecture. The same day many hardware news sites published reviews of Sandy Bridge processors, and the universal conclusion was "yes, it's faster and better". Today Intel updated ARK database with details on all new models. According to the ARK database, high performance Core i5 and Core i7 desktop processors, with the exception of Core i5-2390T, will be launched on January 9, and the Core i3 CPUs with the i5-2390T will be available on February 20.
Like Nehalem-based processors, Sandy Bridge CPUs are going to use Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 branding. While Nehalem processors had model numbers with a three-digit number, followed by an optional letter, Sandy Bridge processors will use a 4-digit number, with the first digit being "2" (it's the 2nd generation, after all). The model numbers will still have an optional letter suffix, which will signify extra features. Letter "K" will be used for processors with unlocked clock multiplier, letter "S" is for low-power CPUs, and letter "T" is for ultra low power microprocessors. For example, "i5-2400S" model number belongs to a low-power 2-nd generation Core processor from Core i5 family.
Similar to Nehalem/Westmere CPUs, 2-nd generation Core processors from different families will have different feature sets. Core i7 models will have 4 cores, and the full set of technologies - HyperThreading, Turbo Boost, VT-x and VT-d virtualization, TXT, AES instructions, and new AVX instructions. Core i5 family will feature most of these technologies, but HyperThreading. Core i3 will add HyperThreading back, but will cut the number of cores in half, from 4 to 2, reduce the size of L3 cache to 3 MB, and drop several advanced technologies, such as Turbo Boost, VT-d Virtualization, AES and TXT. All in all, January's launch will contain 10 different CPU models, which includes 2 unlocked processors, 3 low-power chips, and one ultra-low power CPU. These models are presented in the table below. We suspect that we will see many of these microprocessors in stores the very next day after the launch:
Details and prices of these CPUs match preliminary specifications, that were disclosed by news sites months before the launch.
February launch will include ultra low power Core i5 model, and three chips from Core i3 family. These processors to some extent will be slower than Core i5 / i7 parts, yet much cheaper. As an added bonus, they will also have lower power consumption than quad-core Sandy Bridge models. The following microprocessors will be introduced on February 20, 2011:
Note: Prices for low-power and ultra low power processors were taken from preliminary specifications.
Correction (Jan 8): Processor number Core i5-2390T was mistyped as Core i3-2390T in the second specs table.
Feb 21: Intel launches dual-core Sandy-Bridge processors
Jan 09: Intel launches new desktop and mobile CPUs
Dec 02: Prices and launch dates of desktop Sandy Bridge CPUs
Nov 16: Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs surface in Biostar CPU support list
Nov 13: Part numbers of desktop Sandy Bridge CPUs emerge on Intel website