Intel’s “Sandybridge” chips put graphics right on the CPU silicon.

Intel's "Sandybridge" chips put graphics right on the CPU silicon.


Intel has officially launched its “Sandybridge” series of CPUs today with single-chip integrated CPU and graphics.

The current range of Core chips have graphics and CPU within the same package but they are still two separate chips. Sandybridge has them both on a single piece of silicon.

The whole range of chips is built on a 32nm manufacturing process and Intel’s patented high-k metal gate transistors (which Intel says provides 10x lower energy leakage from the processors than the silicon technologies all the competitors are using.)

Sandybridge processors allow the integrated graphics to share ultra high-speed cache memory with the CPU for increased performance without requiring expensive GDDR3 graphics memory as required by dedicated chips from NVIDIA and AMD.

Intel CEO Paul Ottelini said Intel’s new graphics engine was 25 times faster than the Intel graphics performance in 2006 when Intel first started seriously looking at high performance graphics.

The new chips also have a second-gen version of Intel Turbo Boost tech which is the thing that allows a quad-core Core i7 with an official speed of 1.6GHz per core to boost up to 2.8GHz in one core if the computer isn’t making use of the multiple cores.

The new version automatically reallocates resources between the CPU and GPU to boost overall performance.

Intel says it expects notebooks and PCs with Sandybridge chips to be on sale early next year.

Dan Warne is attending Intel Developer Forum 2010 as a guest of Intel.