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Intel’s 32nm Sandy Bridge CPUs

Thursday, September 16, 2010

At the ongoing Intel Developer Conference 2010, Intel has shared details about its next generation 32nm process made Sandy Bridge microprocessors. Second generation of Core series processors code-named Sandy Bridge feature new ring architecture that allows built-in graphics engine to share resources with the processor core. Packed with rich visual experience, the Sandy Bridge based processors would hit production floors by year end.

As per Intel's Tick-Tock model, Sandy Bridge is the Tock which stands for die-shrink while Tick stands for new micro-architecture. These microchips are manufactured using 32nm process technology with second-generation high-k metal gate transistors. Sandy Bridge chips will possess new ring architecture that will share cache or memory reservoir of the built-in processor graphics engine with the processor core. This way, the laptops or PCs computing and graphics performance can be boosted while maintaining the energy efficiency.

The upcoming Sandy Bridge processors will also feature enhanced mode of Intel Turbo Boost Technology. Certain current generation 32nm Intel Core series ‘Westmere’ CPUs feature Turbo Boost Technology that allows boosting the clock speed dynamically based on the thermal design power headroom. While the new ‘enhanced’ Turbo Boost mode automatically shifts or reallocates CPU cores and graphics resources for boosting the performance. This mode works dynamically with integrated graphics as it allows switching off between overclocking of CPU cores or graphics to keep the workload tailored. Basically, the turbo mode would be available for CPU and GPU both.

Sandy Bridge brings integrated graphics and integrated memory controller on the same die. Both CPU and GPU can share the L3 cache that can result up to 5 times boost in graphics performance. Apart from that, Intel boasts that the new processor graphics delivers 1080p HD support, 3D support, main-stream gaming, multi-tasking, social media apps and multimedia. However, the Sandy Bridge processors won't have DirectX 11 support.

The Sandy Bridge chips due in 2011 will also bring Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) that enables 256-bit instruction set extension support to SSEs. Intel AVX has been designed to improve performance of heavy Floating Point applications with wider vectors, extensible syntax and richer functionality.

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