Intel unveiled a new microprocessor with integrated content protection that could appeal Hollywood studios. In addition to protection against piracy, it is equipped, according to Intel, with improved multimedia capabilities enhanced by math calculation and graphics functions.
The chip, known as Sandy Bridge, will allow studios to offer high definition movies to computer users both with better performance and more stringent anti-piracy measures, Intel is in negotiations with studios and content providers to make this effort possible. Processors that are being sent to PC manufacturers, represent a big challenge for Intel, faced with declining demand for traditional computers.
Microsoft believes that Sandy Bridge’s cost structure is acceptable; they are smaller and the performance is better. The micro-architecture is definitely an important product for Intel in 2011. Intel, whose chips equip eight out of ten PCs in the world, is confident that graphics capabilities of Sandy Bridge can improve gaming experience. In fact, Sandy Bridge may eliminate the need for graphics chips on entry-level PCs, reducing costs for both manufacturers and consumers. Sandy Bridge will initially power more than 500 models of laptop and desktop PCs.
Naturally, graphic cards manufactures advise that consumers who wish to get better graphics performance, should avoid putting all their eggs in one basket by relying everything solely on CPUs that have integrated graphic capability, like Sandy Bridge.
Integrated graphic capability on a CPU was introduced initially on Clarkdale and Arrandale (for desktops and laptops, respectively). Actually, the first processors with integrated graphics should be the Nehalem architecture, which is manufactured with the 45nm process, the Auburndale and Havendale, but in February 2009, Intel announced that it had decided to “jump” the evolutionary step in favor of the first 32-nm processors, the decision was officially taken purely for the issues related to production and some non-technical matters.
Sandy Bridge uses the 32 nm manufacturing process and will be available in several versions up to 8 cores and is expected to reach the historic barrier of 4 GHz. Each core will have 80 KB for the L1 cache and 256 KB for the L2 cache (8 cycles).
Another truly innovative feature, announced by Intel, is a type of transistor that is used for manufacturing the 32nm processors. For the first time since 1950, transistors have a new shape and become a tri-gate, which contain not one but three “gates”.
Advanced Micro Devices also presents in the CES its new line of products that also combine the functions of CPU and GPU in a single chip.