Intel’s Upcoming Processors With Integrated GPU

UPCOMING TECHNOLOGY – Following the Moore’s law and keeping it consistent with time, Intel is ready to ship the next generation of processors on the Mobile, Desktop and Notebook platforms. Code named Sandy bridge, this processor is packed with fully integrated GPU(Graphic Processing Unit), LLC(last level cache), media controllers and processor cores onto one silicon chip.

intel sandy bridge
Paul Otellini, the CEO at Intel holding a wafer of Sandy bridge chips

Sandy Bridge is not to be considered as an innovation in the x86 family, it’s rather an extension of the first generation of core processors “Nehalem“, includes a graphics core on the same silicon piece of the i3/5/7 CPUs. Sandy bridge is based on the 32nm manufacturing process and built to squeeze out more energy and performance improvements over the current range of Intel chipsets. Sandy Bridge is more about it’s architecture and the integration of GPU. With integrating the GPU onto the processor, it’s a significant improvement to Intel’s current line of processor architecture boosting performance and better energy consumption habits. Intel also plans to target the mainstream market first before catering the other market niches.

Image Credit: Hexus

MaximumPC provided a table of benchmarks comparing the application load time on Sandy Bridge’s variants with the AMD’s Phenom processor. (As tested on 64-bit Windows 7 Professional, 4GB of RAM DDR3/1333 (for the dual-core chips) or 6GB of DDR3/1333 (for the tri-channel chips), a Western Digital Raptor 150 10,000rpm hard drive, a GeForce GTX 285, and the same graphics driver for all of the test configurations):

3.4GHz Core i7-2600K2.66GHz Core i5-7502.8GHz Core i7-8602.93GHz Core i7-8703.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition3.33GHz Core i7-980X3.2GHz Phenom II X6 1090T
Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)453615581539504453749
Sony Vegas Pro 9.0c (sec)3,0074,8993,8633,5313,2442,6755,010
HandBrake DVD to iPhone (sec)1,2981,7021,3601,2471,1709411,580
MainConcept 1.6 (sec)2,1343,0922,7352,4862,3081,8272,816
Cinebench 10 64-bit23,25914,45517,51619,19720,14727,47917,892
Cinebench 11.5 64-bit6.873.835.155.545.998.925.67
POV Ray 3.74,9792,8103,8834,4974,2366,5574,656.5
Photoshop CS3 (sec)891181231009189130
Adobe Lightroom 2.6 (sec)394603469422418419426
ProShow Producer 4 (sec)1,0071,4251,3821,2901,2081,0921,669
Bibble 5.02 (sec)121
PCMark Vantage 64-bit Overall11,250
Fritz Chess Benchmark (KiloNodes/s)13,017
Valve Map Compilation (sec)7611011610610099132
Everest Ultimate MEM Copy (MB/s)16,99415,44515,37214,69317,71213,08611,043
Everest Ultimate MEM Latency (ns)3654.349.552.559.861.351.6
SiSoft Sandra RAM Bandwidth (GB/s)16171717232013
3DMark Vantage CPU53,59944,59446,06448,81651,32162,89344,587
Valve Particle test (fps)180111148159174259120
Resident Evil 5 / low-res (fps)132110.3115.9126.6130.7134.1100.3
World in Conflict / low-res (fps)306256253253317358162
Dirt 2 / low-res (fps)16215594153.3157155.7121
Far Cry 2 / low-res (fps)165146.53150.2153.3158.2158.699

Clearly, the benchmarks announce Intel Cores as winners.

Here is the catch. When the gaming side of Sandy Bridge is considered, Intel has cleverly setup the processor architecture to not abuse the over-clocking entsusiasts on a tight budget. Intel has split the Sandy Bridge variants into two categories, the K series and the non-K series. Processors that fall into the K series which are also relatively expensive, have the potential to be over-clocked to a 6GHz limit which is better than on non-k series and the cheaper have more cover-clocking limitations rendering the full fledged over-clocking phenomenon on Intel’s platform a thing of the past.

Intel is yet to go full fledged with the sales of Sandy bridge powered computers. It’s fair to consider “Sandy Bridge” as the next obvious move by Intel in it’s chipset development timeline. Something not to be considered very impressive. It offers outstanding performance and better energy efficiency with lesser number of hardware dependencies as compared to it’s previous generation. A quirky move by Intel to its second generation of core processors will definitely have a unpleasant effect on the Intel worshipping-over-clocker community.