By this time next year, Intel will likely have released its Sandy Bridge processors, the current codename for Nehalem's architectural successor. The initial versions will be aimed at the desktop and laptop markets, not servers, and everything appears to be right on schedule, if not slightly ahead.
"We began volume shipping [of Sandy Bridge processors] in Q1, shipping thousands of samples to a broad range of customers and we are planning volume production later this year," said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer and president of Intel.
From what we know of Sandy Bridge so far, the first chips will sport 2 or 4 cores with Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading technology. But the biggest change compared to Nehalem is that Sandy Bridge will feature integrated graphics on the same die as the x86 cores.
According to Intel, Sandy Bridge will also likely center around Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX). This extra bit of code will help supercharge floating point math performance and help with media rendering and other processor intensive tasks. AVX should also help with energy efficiency, Intel says.