Published in Processors
Intel's Sandy Bridge gets previewed
Looks good for now
We have been hearing and writing about Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs for quite some time and finally Anandtech.com, or to be precise, Anand Lai Shimpi himself, managed to get his hands on one of these babies and made quite a preview of it. This 32nm CPU with an on-die GPU is something that is eagrly awaited, and it looks like Intel has finally taken the graphics part of its CPU seriously.
This 32nm CPU will feature 64KB of L1 cache (32KB instruction + 32KB data) and 256KB of L2 cache. The L3 cache will be different depending on the SKU so you'll have either 8MB of L3 cache on the Core i7 2600, 6MB on the 2400 and 2500 and 3MB of the 2100. This time around L3 cache matters really much as it is shared by the GPU.
For the first time, Intel has finally taken the graphics part quite seriously as the GPU inside the Sandy Bridge is quite enough to compete with the entry level GPUs. Of course, it is not enough to compete with serious discrete graphics cards but it is nice to know that you get something "for free" once you buy a CPU with on-die GPU. Just for reference, the performance of the GPU on the tested Core i7 2600 was around 10 percent faster than the AMD HD 5450, which is quite good in our book if you consider that we are talking about integrated GPU.
In addition to the CPU and GPU performance improvements, Intel has apparently done a lot to improve the power consumption as well, so Sandry Bridge will be a lot quicker and should draw less power than Lynnfield.
Of course, we are still talking about mainstream dekstop parts, as the high-end parts should arrive sometimes in the second half of 2011. The first preview should get you a general idea about the performance, and also points out that upcoming mobile Sandy Bridge could be quite good.
There will be more information once Intel's IDF kicks off. You can check out the full preview here.