Sandy Bridge Intel 2nd Gen Processors

Sandy Bridge is the latest development from Intel in the field of processors and has been the code word to describe the present version among the Second Generation of processors.

This has been based on a completely new and different methodology of functioning that is based on a completely different micro-architecture. The article focuses not only the impacts of these high end processors, but also see how they function and in what way are they improved. Not stopping there it also reviews and understands what you should expect from this improved product.

But before moving ahead it is important to understand what a basic micro-architecture consists of to appreciate how the second generation processors are improved over the previous versions.

About Micro-Architecture

In the processing world, one of the most important and fundamental concept is that of Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) – which contains all the processor registers, different addresses and data formats and most importantly the execution model. The micro-architecture determines how this ISA is implemented on the processor. This is the key thing which governs all the end effects which users can see and feel like processor speed, power consumption among others. The implementation is what changes drastically in during technology up-gradation .

Sandy Bridge Micro-Architecture

In the second generation of their processors, Intel has drastically changed their micro-architecture mainly in the domains like: Power Consumption, Logic Complexity and Testability. This can be seen by the amount of processing power that these processors are giving and comparing them to the TDP i.e. the Thermal Design Power. In simpler words, a second generation processor will give the same or more processing power than its predecessor but at the same time will consume much lesser power and do the task faster .

How micro-architecture affects performance

With these new breed of processors, one can compute faster, consume less and thereby save more. Let us see the major and the key changes in them and how will they impact the performance.

  1. Addition of an on-die GPU: This will not only have twenty times the power of Intel's Generation-5 graphics but will also perform as efficiently as the integrated graphic versions which are produced by rivals like Nvidia.
  2. Hyper-threading (for multi-tasking) and Turbo Boost features are not only present but also improved. This will enable all the four cores to receive an automatic over-clock depending on the system's workload and at the same time the CPU will be able to perform beyond the TDP without harming the system.
  3. Enhanced video decoding and encoding capabilities can be experience as a result of the chip's built-in media processor due to Intel's built-in CPU/GPU combination instead of a discrete graphics card.
  4. New vector extensions built into Sandy Bridge CPUs-dubbed AVX, or Advanced Vector Extensions will increase floating-point performance for tasks like video and photo processing as well as certain financial applications

                                                Sandy Bridge – Architecture and Configuration

Sandy Bridge Processors Naming:

Intel is still going with the popular Core i3, i5, and i7 brands chips and it signifies the same meaning as earlier and is still given to different processors for their different configuration. The number immediately following the "i" modifier-a "2"-will indicate that said CPU is a part of the Sandy Bridge family, as it's a second-generation CPU. Three more numbers will indicate the specific processor SKU, and a letter possibly appended to the end-"K," "S," or "T"-will detail whether the CPU is unlocked for over-clocking, optimized for "lifestyle" computing, or optimized for power-savings .

Edge Ahead for the users

All the above mentioned points finally lead to one important bottom line – better performance. Also better performance includes higher computational power, lower power consumption and lesser operational costs for the end user. Overall, Sandy Bridge has definitely been a big jump as compared to the Nehalem micro-architecture (its predecessor) and has a lot to offer. But with the Ivy Bridge (successor) already planned and the work in progress, there is time before we can tell how will the market respond to it.