Intel tracks 500 design wins for Sandy Bridge chips

New family of processors, to be showed off at CES 2011, includes dozens of new chips

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HP figures the new chips offer a 50% boost in energy efficiency, according to Morris. HP is launching new HP Compaq 8200 Elite and 6200 Pro corporate desktops with Intel's next-generation core chips.

Intel's focus on energy efficiency in its chips is no accident. The company is keeping up with trends among consumers who want mobile devices to run longer between recharges and corporations that have sought to reduce electric bills with energy saving PCs and servers.

"The key word for us is energy efficiency," Marty said.

The ultra-low voltage (ULV) versions of the new Intel chips are 22% smaller than the previous generation and offer a 30% performance improvement, as well as lower energy consumption, Marty said.

The company also put out a complete low-power roadmap for desktop chips in 65-watt, 45W and 35W versions, the first time it's ever offered 45W and 35W chips for desktops, he said.

Intel even designed some chips specifically for enthusiasts. The Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K will be fully unlocked so people can overclock them up to 5.7GHz, said Marty. The Sandy Bridge chips are the first Intel has unlocked in this manner.

Multimedia users will see a range of improvements from the new Intel chip family, including speedier video file conversions with a built-in transcoding engine called Quick Sync.

Intel built a number of graphics technologies right into the processors, including Visual Build and Intel HD Graphics 2000 and 3000, and codecs encoded into the cores to speed them up, such as MPEG2, and VC1.

However, the chips still have no support for OpenCL (Open Computing Language), a framework for running applications across CPUs and GPUs to improve calculation performance.

Finally, Intel worked to improve wireless capabilities in the chips by including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, as well as Wireless Display (WiDi), which allows devices to share content wirelessly with another device. For example, a WiDi-capable laptop can share full-display high-definition 1080i/p content wirelessly with an LCD TV as long as the LCD TV has a proper adapter. All of the new Core family chips support WiDi.

The new Sandy Bridge chips will be mass produced using Intel's 32-nanometer production technology. The next generation of Intel chips, called Ivy Bridge, will be manufactured with Intel's 22nm technology.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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