CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

Summary: It's finally 2011, which means it's Sandy Bridge time. At long last, Intel's new processor platform has been officially unveiled, and it's a biggee.

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CES 2011

It's finally 2011, which means it's Sandy Bridge time. At long last, Intel's new processor platform has been officially unveiled, and it's a biggee. There will be 29 new CPUs, 15 for laptops and 14 for desktops, that promise better performance at a lower price while using less power, thanks to a refinement of the company's 32nm manufacturing process.

While keeping the familiar Core i3, i5, and i7 nomenclature, an extra (fourth) digit is being added to each product name. This roll-out is heavy on higher-performing i5 and i7 chips, including a whopping 10 new i7 mobile processors. At the very high end, there's the i7-2920XM Extreme Edition laptop CPU, which has a 2.5GHz base clock speed for each of its four cores and will cost over $1,000. (Pricing is per thousand units, but gives you a ballpark figure for how much it will cost you at retail.) For nearly half that price, there's the i7-2820QM, or an even cheaper quad-core in the i7-2720QM ($378). Two more quad-cores were announced but without pricing: the i7-2635QM and the i7-2630QM. There are also a quartet of dual-core i7s that are low-voltage or ultra-low-voltage: the i7-2649M ($346), i7-2629M ($311), i7-2657M ($317), and i7-2617M ($289).

In contrast, there's only a trio of new i7 desktop chips, including one designed for low-power systems. The i7-2600K is notable for its overclocking friendliness (designated by the "K" in the product name) and can reach a factory-setting maximum TurboBoost speed of 3.8GHz for $317. If you don't want to tweak out faster speeds yourself, the i7-2600 offers the same four cores and eight threads for a little less ($294). Not priced is the i7-2600S, but it should provide a lot more power than the typical low-power desktop available today. Intel is adding four i5 and one i3 low-power processors to the desktop lineup as well.

There are four other i5 desktop chips, including the i5-2500K ($216) -- with unlocked multiplier like the i7-2600K -- and the i5-2500 ($205), i5-2400 ($184), and i5-2300 ($177). While these all have four cores, each only runs a single thread unlike the i7s' cores, which can run two threads simultaneously. The four new mobile i5s are only dual-core, but they support Hyper-threading.

The only new Core i3 laptop processor announced is the dual-core/four-thread i3-2310M, which lacks the Turbo Boost feature the other mobile chips possess. The same is the case for the trio of desktop i3s, with the i3-2100 costing a mere $117.

Testing sites got their hands on a handful of these new processors, and HotHardware rounds up the results (including its own benchmarking) here. While these were just a few of the 29 CPUs, the conclusions are convincing. The i7-2600K can't beat the six-core i7-900 series of Extreme Edition desktop processors at its factory settings, but can come close with overclocking, at a fraction of the price and using substantially less power. The Core i5s generally put a hurting on AMD's Phenom line, and the i7-2820QM is the fastest mobile processor tested (since the i7-2920XM hasn't been benchmarked) and its new integrated graphics are fast enough to compare to entry-level discrete laptop graphics cards.

If you want to take in the full press deck, Engadget has posted it here. Then get ready for a torrent of Sandy Bridge laptop announcements over the next week of CES coverage.

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Processors

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29 comments
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  • hmmm, now I don't know whether or not to go with Intel or AMD

    Is there a date when we can start buying the chips? I'm in the market for upgrading my core system (motherboard, CPU, RAM, Power Supply) for a serious gaming rig and I want to get as much bang for my buck. I was going to go with the AMD Phenom X2, I think that's the best AMD Desktop CPU, as it was comparable to the current I7's but much cheaper. I suppose now I'm going to have to wait for the new Intels to come out to do some price and power comparison :(
    KBot
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @KBot

      I'm curious to what games you are running. I'm more into console gaming, but is playing Star Craft II and is just wondering which games would benefit from these new processors.
      drand541
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @drand54@...

        not sure I actually NEED the brand new ones, i just dont want to by the current I7 if they just came out with new ones. The games I'm trying to play (and can't as my CPUs are maxed out and they chug like crazy) are Starwars the Force Unleashed 2, & CoD Black ops. I'm sure there is one or two more I can't think of off the top of my head. Also, I am playing games Like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Convisction on med or low video options to play them. I actually bead SWFU2 on PC but it was running at less than 30fps the whole time.
        KBot
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @KBot I don't think the fastest Phenom X2 is at all comparable to the fastest i7s. Not even close.

      AMD's advantage is bang for buck. You can get great performance at a much cheaper price but if you want total performance, Intel has a solid lead.
      MeMyselfAndI_z
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @MeMyselfAndI_z <br><br>A while back on zdnet there was a link to a benchmark comparing the i7 and the Phenom X2. Overall the I7 won, but the comparisons were generally close. I'm not sure that this is the $1000 I7 that was compared to, but generally, unless you are nitpicking the major differences in processors is neglagible for things like gaming. I just want to know if these new chips bring something to the table worth waiting for, (and potentially paying more for)

        edit:
        @nix_hed

        I'm not sure of the exact name i am probably mistaken. It was the phoenom with 6 cores, (threads?), that stood up against a decent I7
        KBot
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @KBot Are you sure it wasn't the Phenom II X4? Phenom X2 would be a dual-core chip by AMD nomenclature, where Phenom II X4 would be a second generation Phenom 4 core and can keep relative pace with the i7 800 (1156) and i7 900 (1366) chips.
        nix_hed
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @KBot

      Intel for quality and top performance but also will come at a little higher cost. On the other hand you'll notice a lot of the new CORE2 i series chips hands down beat the crap out of AMD chips presently. I remember seeing a benchmark recently showing the new i7 bottom end matching the highest end AMD for about the same price. I'm also aware of AMD's Bulldozer chips that are coming which will compete with Intel's new line which will be interesting but Intel is coming down in price and preserving quality. You may save a few dollars building your rig but at the same time if quality is suffering then you may have to rebuild which in turn will cost you more in the long run and may as well go Intel. I've used Intel/nVidia for over 10 years now with one fire incident with an AMD chip then again that was back in 2000.

      I would recommend a i7 chip of either era but if you got the cash go for the new series as well get better video card... Part of the reason your CPU's are maxed is possibly because your GPU is maxed and falling back on the CPU to pick up the slack. Nvidia just release their new line of video cards as well, I'd say the 570 or 580 would be excellent choices. Asus Mobo Rampage III, new i7, GTX 580, 12GB DDR3 RAM and a 750w Corsair.... Heaven.
      audidiablo
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @audidiablo

        i was planning on getting an additional Nvidia card. The one i have (GTS250) is high-mid to low-high. It plays all 2009 games almost completely maxed, so i don;t see why it would chug on low settings on 2010, but more than one card using SLI is preferred by me anyway.
        KBot
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @audidiablo you realise that for <$300 a 6 core AMD trashed basically all the I7 CPUs until you hit the 6 core extreme and even then it beat it in gaming. I have been running AMD for 10 years since i had an issue with an Intel system. And i have never had any issues with my chips.
        Jimster480
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @KBot Keep in mind that the GPU does the vast majority of heavy lifting in the case of a gaming rig - you definitely want to put most of your money there rather than the CPU.
      CobraA1
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @CobraA1
        Oh i know you're right, but at present i only have a dual core cpu 1.xx GHz. Slow by gaming standards. My Vid card does pretty well, but like i mentioned i am going to get a second one, but i really think my cpu is the bottleneck this time.
        KBot
  • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

    What are the from factors of the new desktop chips? 1156, 1366, or something new.
    mcfant
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @mcfant
      Prepare to buy a new motherboard. They use an 1155 socket (sever versions? will use a 2011) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Bridge_%28microarchitecture%29#Variants_Overview
      gtvr
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @gtvr Good grief. If there's one thing that annoys me about CPU upgrades, it's the constant changing of the sockets.

        It's more difficult than ever to upgrade the CPU without having to basically buy a whole new system :(.
        CobraA1
      • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

        @gtvr lol typical Intel price strategy. They still come nowhere near AMD.
        Jimster480
  • Im waiting for the OCed benchmarks.

    If I can get a 2600k at 5.0GHz im buying. The integrated GPU is such a waste of space ( moar Cache plz ).
    Tommy S.
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @Tommy S. <br><br>I completely agree. I have no need for integrated graphics, I'm always going to by a video card, always. Integrate the graphics on the board, not the chip.

      edit:
      @Johnny Vegas

      If that is even half true, then you're right, but they should still have a chip that uses the space the internal vid would have used for more processing power/cache/gaming awesomeness
      KBot
      • That would be stupid. Integrated graphics is fine for 99.999% of the market

        and extends battery life dramatically. Intel clearly made the right decision.
        Johnny Vegas
  • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

    I don't do gaming,I want to build a system purely for Photoshop work.
    My current dual AMD cpu system is 6 years old and although it still works well I simply want a faster set-up to handle the larger files.
    Its a pity that nearly every contributor is a gamer, I was hoping for some real geeky info :-))
    michaelaaaaaa4
    • RE: CES 2011: Intel officially unveils 29 Sandy Bridge CPUs -- faster, cheaper, less power-hungry

      @michael@...
      mobo, Go with the am3 socket, and you'll never look back. Get plenty of ddr3 memory, with a fast hard drive, and a good, (imho) dual or quad core with 3.0 ghz, and you'll be plenty happy. The vid card is crucial, just get one that fits your needs. What you seem to be looking for, is a balanced system. I shamelessly admit I care not for "braggin rights" , just what is cost effective, and with this type of system, you can pretty much do what you want. By the way, I am an it for a small financial firm, who does graphics on the side, and am well happy with my inexpensive amd rig.
      Rikaroo