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Supermicro New Zealand Channel Newsletter
Intel Sandy Bridge
  30 November 2010


Intel has announced some details of the next generation processor technology in a recent developer forum and will openly showcase the new processors in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2011.  We have obtained a little bit of information for sharing with you.

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(a)   The new processors will continue to be labelled as Core i7, i5 and i3 respectively, but the series number will have a prefix 2 to indicate they are the 2nd generation.  For example, i7-960 is the first generation and i7-2600 is the second generation.

(b)   The new socket for these processors will have 1155 pins.  The current processors have 1366 pins at the top end and 1156 pins for mainstream models.  Unfortunately, the motherboards for these 3 form factors of processors are not interchangeable.

(c)   Intel will release the new processors progressively over 2011.  The initial release will be for 2 and 4-cores only (with 2 threads per core), while 6 and 8-core models should arrive by the end of the year (1356 pin).  The current 1366 pin Core i7-970 and above will stay as the top performing processors in 2011 presumably due to having 6 cores.

(d)   The new processors will have hardwired instructions called Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) instead of SSE.  AVX has twice the bit width of SSE4 and has 3 operands instead of 2.  This feature will speed up computations of floating point and multimedia calculations.

(e)   The turbo boost (dynamic overclocking) feature has improved in two respects.  It applies to the graphics engine as well as computation engine.  It allows over shooting to above the TDP (thermal design power) for 20 to 30 seconds at start up.

(f)    Little information is known about the new processor for servers at this stage.

Compucon produces a range of Intel and AMD based workstations for the business market.  There are 7 Intel models from Atom at the low end to Core i7 1366 at the high end, and 2 AMD models from Sempron to Athlon and Phenom. When Sandy Brige is released in early 2011, it will go into the Compucon range as Superhawk Plus 1155 in parallel with the current Superhawk Plus 1366.

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