Intel has been providing dribs and drabs of information about its forthcoming Sandy Bridge processors during this week's Intel Developer Forum. For instance, we now know that the integrated GPU will not support many DirectX 11 features, and it will automatically get disabled when a discrete graphics card is added to a PCI Express slot.
Meanwhile, the chip giant held a session where it did some Sandy Bridge overclocking, though the assembled journalists weren't permitted to divulge many details. Here's what we know (via TechRadar and APCmag.com): a new CPU that is analogous to the current quad-core Core i7 875K -- the "K" referring to an unlocked multiplier -- was overclocked and tested running Cinebench R11.5. Though the test system was just air cooled, the processor ran at 4.9GHz, and Intel said that it outperformed a 12-core AMD Opteron "by a pretty healthy chunk." That particular Opteron easily outscores a Core i7 960 CPU on the Cinebench benchmark, so this could mean a very, very healthy performance jump over the first generation of Core processor.
As encouraging as Intel's results are, we still need to get some independent benchmark scores before we can really know just how much of a leap Sandy Bridge represents -- and just how much of a leap new Core i3s, i5s, and i7s each get, whether overclocked or not. It doesn't appear that we'll need to wait too much longer for those first evaluation processors to reach the benches, so stay tuned.