Intel Sandy Bridge chip coming January 5

Chip giant will launch its next-generation Sandy Bridge processor at the Consumer Electronics Show, with a long list of PC makers expected to bring out new laptops based on the processor during the first half of 2011.

Intel will launch its next-generation Sandy Bridge chip line on January 5 at the Consumer Electronics Show, the chipmaker confirmed today.

The launch will take place at Venetion Hotel in Las Vegas. Mooly Eden, Intel vice president and general manager for PC Client Group, along with "surprise guests, will showcase the world's fastest processor with many new technologies Intel has built into our chips to enhance the 'visual life,'" Intel said in a statement.

Sandy Bridge will--for the first time in mainstream laptops--put Intel graphics technology directly onto the central processing unit (CPU).

Sandy Bridge is expected to be a significant step up for Intel in the graphics chip department.
Sandy Bridge is expected to be a significant step up for Intel in the graphics chip department. Intel

With Intel's current Core i series of processors, the graphics function is a separate piece of silicon inside the chip package--and is one manufacturing-process generation behind the main processor. In other words, a Core i7 chip, for example, has a 32-nanometer processor and separate 45-nanometer graphics silicon housed in a chip package.

In Sandy Bridge, the CPU and graphics processing unit (GPU) will be combined in one 32-nanometer piece of silicon.

Intel, already the largest graphics chip supplier in the world, will be competing against Nvidia's higher-performance stand-alone GPUs and Advanced Micro Devices' integrated CPU-GPU products and higher-performance standalone GPUs.

Virtually every computer maker in the world is expected to come out with systems based on Sandy Bridge, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Apple, Sony, Acer, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

See The next, big thing for Intel: Sandy Bridge and Intel discloses new Sandy Bridge technical details for more background on the new processor.

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