A little over a year ago now we saw the introduction of the Intel Core i7, i5 and i3 LGA 1156 processors which replaced the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad predecessor. These chips paved the way for the mainstream market. Delivering excellent performance to enthusiasts who are perhaps on a budget. LGA1156 basically offers excellent performance at a lower price-point compared to the LGA 1366 Core i7. But, some 15 months on and we have a successor to the short-lived LGA1156 Core i7, i5, i3.
The new 2nd Generation 6 Series Intel Core i7, i5, i3 are with us. They are named with the 2xxx suffix - at this current moment in time there is Core i5 2300, 2400, 2500 and 2500K and Core i7 2600 and 2600+.
The K indicator signifies that the chip has an unlocked multiplier and therefore is ideal for those wishing to performance tune the processor by overclocking. The Core i5 series fits into the mainstream market of processors whilst the Core i7 the performance market.
Each of our new family of processors are 32nm. Previous LGA1156 processors from the Core i5 series (Lynnfield) are 45nm and (Clarkdale) 32nm.
Over a year ago we saw Intel integrate graphics cores to their Clarkdale processors. They were largely separate entities that happened to be on the same die. With Sandy Bridge, Intel have taken it one step further. The actual cores themselves and the integrated GPU are married together meaning the ring bus which they are connected to and semiconductor die they are inside share resources. Enhancements like these have meant that Intel have verified these new processors as next generation.
This will almost certainly be aimed at competing with AMD's Fusion concept - combining CPU and GPU capabilities to deliver HD, 3D and data-intensive performance.
With this new graphics core moving to 32nm die fine tuning is now possible. Clock speeds can be modified easily and we will see that the graphics core integrated on our Sandy Bridge processors may even compete with low-end graphics solutions because of the performance results in real-world applications. Integrated graphics is certainly moving forward with Intel's Sandy Bridge integrated graphics core, I can imagine that due to the significance of the performance being likened to entry level graphics solutions both NVIDIA and AMD will be keeping a close eye on things.
Intel's 2nd Generation 6 series Core i7, i5, i3 codenamed Sandy Bridge is set to revive Intel's current LGA1156 platform. It certainly won't be making LGA1366 redundant by any means but will instead be sliding below that platform to really engage with those wanting quad core support at competitive pricing.
The new chipset has been given a new socket - LGA1155 and will come in a range of variants the two fundamental chipsets are P67 and H67. The latter being concerned with a budget approach to computing, providing onboard graphics but with no overclocking abilities whatsoever. CPU and memory clock speeds will be locked on H67, so P67 is going to appeal far greater to hardware enthusiasts looking to tweak performance and get the most out of their hardware.