Intel revealed today several design features for the company's 2011 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family at the Intel Developer Forum.
The new and enhanced features add a number of visually related features built right into the chips.
Codenamed "Sandy Bridge," the chips will be based on Intel's first new "visibly smart" microarchitecture produced on the company's manufacturing factories, or "fabs," at 32-nanometer (nm is a billionth of a meter) process technology with second- generation high-k metal gate transistors.
"The way people and businesses are using computers is evolving at an explosive rate, fueling demand for an even more powerful and visually appealing experience," said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. "Our upcoming 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family represents the biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any previous generation. In addition to offering these features inside Intel-based laptops, we plan to scale these advances across our server data center and embedded computing product portfolio."
The processor family will include a new "ring" architecture that allows the built-in processor graphics engine to share resources such as cache, or a memory reservoir, with the processor's core to increase a device's computing and graphics performance while maintaining energy efficiency.
The 2nd Generation Intel Core processor also includes an enhanced version of Intel Turbo Boost Technology. This feature automatically shifts or reallocates processor cores and processor graphics resources to accelerate performance, tailoring a workload to give users an immediate performance boost when needed.
Intel will offer also low-power versions of the 2nd generation Core processor family for desktops, including the optimized 65W solutions and 45W/35W power-optimized solutions. Intel will ship specific boxed versions of these low-power processors with a new low-profile fan heat sink.
Laptops and PCs powered by the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family are expected to be available early next year.
Intel's new processor graphics delivers enhanced visual features focused on the areas where most users are computing today: HD video, 3-D, mainstream gaming, multi-tasking and online socializing and multimedia.
To obtain and view video faster, Perlmutter demonstrated hardware accelerated video editing using the architecture's dedicated silicon for media processing, which allows users to quickly convert video to other formats.
The 2011 chips also come with Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX). AVX delivers improved performance, rich functionality and the ability to better manage, rearrange and sort data. A new 256-bit instruction set accelerates floating point intensive applications such as digital photo editing and content creation.
Intel's CEO Paul Otellini also today highlighted several trends and technologies that have created a "new marketplace for pervasive computing" that poses engineering challenges that are also opportunities for the high-tech industry.
These trends include the proliferation of billions of smarter, Internet-connected devices that include PCs, phones and cars; and how individuals want to move between devices to connect with friends, get information and be entertained. Otellini said people "will choose the device that provides the best experience for any given intended use and that no one device will win."
Intel is positioning itself to advance - and benefit from - this transformation in the computing marketplace. The company is extending its chip design, manufacturing techniques and software expertise to offer more complete hardware and software platforms and related services that deliver energy-efficient performance, security and Internet connectivity across a large, dynamic range of devices.
Intel has made limited investments beyond the PC in recent years. However, it has made nearly $10 billion in acquisitions over the last year - starting with Wind River - to help the company extend its capabilities. Otellini said Intel's recently announced, planned acquisitions of Infineon?s Wireless Solutions Business and McAfee Inc. will enhance the company's ability to deliver products that offer a choice of wireless connections, and more effectively counter the increasingly sophisticated security attacks happening on a broad range of Internet-connected devices. The planned purchase of Texas Instruments' cable modem business will add to Intel's ability to deliver Internet services to consumer electronics devices.
Commenting on the upcoming "Sandy Bridge" chips, Otellini said the 2nd generation of Intel Core processor family will allow PC users to experience several things they couldn't do previously unless they used a high-end desktop computer with a discrete graphics card. He showed someone playing the popular "Sarcragt II:Wings of Liberty" game in rich detail on a 2nd generation Intel Core processor-powered laptop. And the laptop was powerful enough to simultaneously record a HD video of the game play.
The Intel Core processor, Intel Atom processor and Intel software tools are playing a role transforming data centers, the Internet "cloud" and other areas that are being transformed by the proliferation of smarter, Internet-connected devices. Otellini highlighted Intel?s progress in these areas. He also demonstrated several technologies that showed Intel?s computing architecture delivering a consistent and interoperable Internet experience across multiple devices.
Otellini showed two smart TV-enabling products powered by the Intel Atom processor CE4100 and Google TV that will come out this Fall. The Sony Internet TV and the Logitech Revue add-in box combine access to the Internet with the TV viewing experience through the combination of Intel processors and the Google TV Android platform. D-Link, Telecom Italia and several other companies are also expected to launch Intel Atom processor CE4100-based devices soon.
As an example of new ways to connect computing devices, Otellini showed a concept for a hassle-free way to enjoy content stored on a tablet on a big screen TV. The demostrations features an Ontel Atom processor-based development tablet that Intel had slightly modified to work with Intel Wireless Display (WiDi). Currently available in certain laptops and Netgear Push to RV adapter, WiDi utilizes standard WiFi that's become ubiquitous in laptops to connect the PC to an HDTV via a small adapter.