To use the AVX unit, which offers enhanced floating-point performance under Windows 7, you need Service Pack 1. Unfortunately, this update is currently only available as a Release Candidate, although Microsoft plans to ship the final version soon. AES-NI is supported by Windows by default, but application support for the instruction set is also required. As the TrueCrypt 7.0a reaults show, the new Sandy Bridge processors can deliver impressive results with everything in place.
Sandy Bridge's integrated HD Graphics processor cannot match high-end solutions from AMD and Nvidia when running demanding 3D games. When it comes to video playback and video encoding, however Sandy Bridge is competitive. In December, Apple announced its intention to use Sandy Bridge graphics in its upcoming MacBooks.
Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors represent a successful development of the Core microarchitecture. In addition to much-improved memory performance and significant instruction set extensions, the new chips are particularly impressive in terms of energy efficiency. It's a shame that the existing Intel LGA-1156 platform does not allow a CPU upgrade. To use the new Sandy Bridge processors, you must have a new motherboard with Socket