We haven't heard anything official from Intel just yet, but according to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the world's largest chip maker plans to limit hyperthreading support in Sandy Bridge to the Core i7 series.
All Core i7 2000 series processors will show eight threads in Windows Task Manager, while Core i5 chips will have this feature disabled. The same holds true for Intel's dual-core Core i3 CPUs - unlike current Core i3 parts, those based on Sandy Bridge will not support Hyperthreading. In addition, Core i3 parts will continue to come stripped of Turbo support.
So why the sudden change in Intel's Hyperthreading strategy? According to Fudzilla, the chip maker wants to better separate its Core ix branding in terms of performance and features.
If you're jonesin' for a low-cost Sandy Bridge processor and aren't put off by the Celeron brand, hang tight, Intel has you covered. The Santa Clara chip giant is reportedly working on a batch of 32nm Celeron chips to ship in the third quarter of 2010.
Details are pretty weak at the moment, but according to Web chatter, there's a good shot these will come with the graphics core enabled. That means you'll be getting a dual-core processor with integrated graphics for as low as $50, the starting price of these upcoming parts.
As it stands, current Celeron parts are still being built around the 45nm Wolfdale architecture and don't include a graphics core.
Reports have begun to surface that Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors are going to be poor overclockers, allowing for only 2-3 percent of OCing headroom before the platform falls flat on its face.
The reason for this is because all of the system buses are going to be tied together in Sandy Bridge, including USB, SATA, PCI, PCI-E, CPU cores, and so forth. The way things work now is you're able to goose additional MHz out of your CPU and memory without affecting other subsets, but that apparently won't be the case with Sandy Bridge, which will use a single internal clock generator linking all the buses together.
As Bit-Tech reports it, at least one Taiwanese motherboard company warned that cranking the Base Clock by just 5MHz is enough to throw a wrench into the whole operation, causing the USB to fail and corrupt the SATA bus.
It's still early, however, and mobo makers could come up with workarounds, but so far it doesn't appear as though Intel is too interested in lending a hand.
During Intel's earnings conference call on Tuesday, company CEO Paul Otellini said demand for Sandy Bridge is already red hot, even though the platform has yet to be released.
"Due to the very strong reception of Sandy Bridge, we have accelerated our 32nm factory ramp and have raised our capex (capital expenditure) guidance to enable us to meet the anticipated demand," Otellini said. "I am more excited about Sandy Bridge than I have been about any product that the company has launched in a number of years."
Sandy Bridge, which is expected to ship later this year, is Intel's successor to Nehalem. It will come with an integrated graphics core along with a "significant improvement in instructions per clock," according to statements made by Intel executive vice president David Perlmutter back in April.
Intel has been shipping samples of Sandy Bridge to customers for the past several months
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.
Huron River, which, like Calpella, will support Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, and will be based on the 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture. It will be made up of dual-and quad-core processors supporting Intel’s Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading. It will have faster integrated graphics and support for 1600MHz DDR3 memory.
Huron River options look to include a WiMAX chipset, Wireless Display support, and Bluetooth.
Intel’s graphics offerings have traditionally been a little lackluster, but that could be about to change. Intel has reportedly informed its corporate partners that the new Sandy Bridge CPUs will be available by year’s end, and will pack a significant graphics performance increase. Intel is claiming as much as a doubling of performance. A “doubling” compared to what is currently unclear, but one could assume Intel is referring to the current Nehalem architecture.
The Sandy Bridge parts will be based on a 32nm manufacturing process and will have an on die graphics processor. The CPU core will be capable of clocks up to 4GHz and some models will have eight cores. ATI and Nvidia plan to move to 28nm graphics cores, which would leave Intel the only purveyor of 32nm cores.
We’d all love to see a doubling of performance over the poor Intel HD graphics found in the current Nehalem line. Only time will tell if this is just more wild speculation.
Besides parading silicon, Otellini announced that the production of its 32nm “Westmere” chip is underway and remains on track for a Q4 2009 release. The new chip will combine a 32nm CPU and a 45nm integrated graphics core in the same package, though on separate dies.
But Sandy Bridge, a new microarchitecture that will be introduced in late 2010, will feature “a sixth generation graphics core on the same die as the processor core and includes AVX instructions for floating point, media, and processor intensive software.”