Still haven't upgraded your Core Duo or even your Pentium 4 system yet? If you want to jump straight to Intel's latest and greatest for your next PC, you may want to skip the current generation of "Nehalem" Core processors, because the chip giant says it's ramping up the schedule to get its new Sandy Bridge platform to market by the end of the year.
Sandy Bridge CPUs are slated for a late 2010 release, but CEO Paul Otellini said on Intel's quarterly earnings call this week that customer interest from system manufacturers was so high that the company has to pour additional resources into meeting that demand. Given that Intel's mobile device strategy beyond laptops is far from a slam dunk, it's not entirely surprising that Otellini enthused, "I am more excited about Sandy Bridge than I have been about any product that the company has launched in a number of years."
Why the hype? Sandy Bridge will shrink the memory controller and the integrated GPU down to 32nm, the size at which the latest CPUs are manufactured. The result should be not only improved performance, but less power usage and a lower thermal output. According to leaked information, Sandy Bridge processors should all offer clock speeds of at least 3.1GHz, whether they fall under Intel's continuing Core i3, i5, or i7 series. While the new Core i7 and i3 parts will support Hyper-Threading, the new i5s will not. The Core i7 2600 quad-core will also sport 8MB of L3 cache, though that will be shared between the CPU and GPU.
Will all of this result in plenty of Sandy Bridge-based desktops and laptops reaching consumers by the holiday season? That would be a fine gift for Intel fanboys -- and a lump of coal in AMD's stocking.