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September 15, 2010

Intel Details Second Generation Core Processor Architecture at IDF 2010

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

As predicted, the second generation Intel (News - Alert) core processor codenamed Sandy Bridge was a top highlight of Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s keynote speech at Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Calif. on Monday.  Based on first new “visibly smart” microarchitecture, it will be implemented in the company’s cutting-edge 32-nm process technology with second- generation high-k metal gate transistors.

As reported in EETimes, the 32 nm processors will come in versions with two or four dual-threaded x86 cores with built-in one graphics engine on a shared ring interconnect architecture. According to Intel, the new “ring” architecture allows the built-in processor graphics engine to share resources such as cache, or a memory reservoir, with the processor’s core to increase a device’s computing and graphics performance while maintaining energy efficiency. It is slated for production later in the year with new laptops and PCs powered by the new processor to be available starting early 2011.

“The way people and businesses are using computers is evolving at an explosive rate, fueling demand for an even more powerful and visually appealing experience,” said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, in a statement. He added, “Our upcoming second generation Intel Core processor family represents the biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any previous generation. In addition to offering these features inside Intel-based laptops, we plan to scale these advances across our server data center and embedded computing product portfolio.”

The second generation Intel core processor also includes an enhanced version of Intel Turbo Boost Technology. This feature automatically shifts or reallocates processor cores and processor graphics resources to accelerate performance, tailoring a workload to give users an immediate performance boost when needed.

While key metrics like clock speed, power consumption, memory were not disclosed, some key security features were revealed. In an interview with PC Magazine, Jeff Marek, director of business client engineering for Intel, said that from a security standpoint, the biggest addition Sandy Bridge will deliver will be the ability to remotely kill and restore a lost or stolen PC via 3G. Previously, that capability, which delivers a "poison pill" that can remotely wipe the PC's hard drive, was only available via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Now, if that laptop has a 3G connection, the PC can be protected, Marek explained to reporter Mark Hachman.

Videoconferencing sessions will also be secured via AES encryption, previously, only VoIP calls could be secured, as per the report on the PC Magazine’s site. In short, the second generation processor offers vPro business features.

In addition, the new processor chip also comes with Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX (News - Alert)). AVX delivers improved performance, rich functionality and the ability to better manage, rearrange and sort data. A new 256-bit instruction set accelerates floating point intensive applications such as digital photo editing and content creation.

Keynoter Otellini covered several trends that will drive future industry growth, and showed three key focus areas for Intel:

Transformation of Intel into a computing company beyond computers

Computing Essentials — from hardware to software and eveything in between to provide great, secure, rich Internet experience on any device

Evolution of Smarts — putting intelligent computing performance and Internet connectivitiy in more things we use in our daily lives

These trends and technologies could lead to the proliferation of what many predict to be billions of Internet-connected devices that will complement all of those laptops and PCs we use.

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