Posted by: kurtsh | May 16, 2011

INFO: Intel’s Sandy Bridge Architecture… in English

imageMuch has been made of Intel’s new Sandy Bridge architecture but a question that I got asked recently, “What is it?  In 60 seconds or less?”

Put simply:  “Sandy Bridge” is a new Intel processing microarchitecture.  It’s very special in that it provides the following new capabilities or improvements:

  • IMPROVED die shrink to 32nm
    (Reduced trace size from 42nm in previous generation; die shrinkage reduces heat generation & power consumption)
  • IMPROVED bandwidth between compute cores (CPU)
    (Previous multicore architectures were somewhat loosely coupled with marginal bandwidth between cores resulting in lesser performance)
  • IMPROVED graphics processing integration (GPU)
    (Previous integrated GPUs were not in all processors and again, marginal bandwidth between graphics & compute cores diminished performance.  Additionally, the graphics processor now shares cache with the compute cores making data sharing faster.)
  • NEW “Advanced Vector Extensions instruction set (AVX)” for CPU
    (Increases efficiency of compute core usage by allowing operating system to issue specific condition sensitive instructions.  Only available on Windows 7 Service Pack 1.)
  • NEW “Turbo Boost 2” Overclocking
    (Previous chips overclocking effects would get marginalized when all cores were in use; Turbo Boost 2 now overclocks for performance consistently except when processor is detected to be overheating.)
  • NEW “SATA 6Gb/s” Storage Support
    (Support for SATA 6GB/sec is now built into the microarchecture chipset enabling high performance throughput to SATA 6GB/sec capable storage devices – in particular, SSD drives)

There’s some other things but these are the big items.  More can be read about Sandy Bridge below:


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