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First Intel next-gen laptops will be quad core

The first "Sandy Bridge" laptops to be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show will be quad core. More mainstream dual-core systems will arrive by March.

The official rollout of the first "Sandy Bridge" laptops at the Consumer Electronics Show next month will be a quad-core affair.

Lenovo Y560 will use the Second Generation Intel Core processors and feature hybrid SSD-HDD drive technology.
Lenovo Y560 will use the Second Generation Intel Core processors and feature hybrid SSD-HDD drive technology. Lenovo

The chipmaker is holding an event on January 5 at CES in Las Vegas where it will debut the "Second Generation Intel Core," aka Sandy Bridge, processors. Top laptop vendors, including Lenovo and Acer, are expected to introduce systems at that time.

At a recent investor conference, Intel disclosed that the first Sandy Bridge processors will be quad core, followed by more mainstream dual-core chips.

And that's the message that the PC industry is getting. "Quad core goes live in January, dual-core goes live in February," said an industry source involved in the Sandy Bridge laptop rollout. "OEMs [original equipment manufacturers--PC makers] are going to be going public with their quad-core laptops [at CES], but they can't go public with their dual-core laptops until mid-February."

Despite all of the consumer-centric hoopla surrounding CES, January is actually a difficult time to introduce products for PC makers, according to this person. "A little a bit of that [delay in introducing dual-core systems] is allowing OEMs to shift inventories of the older products that they have," the source said. "CES frankly is a very bad time [to introduce products] for OEMs. Because they've now built up all of their systems for holiday and now you have new product coming out in January that has to replace the old stuff and it's not an easy transition for OEMs to manage."

Most of the quad-core systems will be 15-inch and 17-inch designs, according to the source.

Lenovo has already announced the 15.6-inch IdeaPad Y560p, which is slated for release on January 11 and will start at $849. The Y560p also features a technology called "RapidDrive" that combines a very-high-speed solid-state drive with the mainstay hard disk drive. (See demonstration video here of RapidDrive on a Y460 Lenovo IdeaPad.)

Nvidia's graphics chips are expected to be used in a number of Sandy Bridge laptops. Most of those systems will use Nvidia's Optimus technology, which switches between Intel's integrated graphics and Nvidia's processor, based on power-saving and performance requirements, respectively.