1.0.0: Sandy Bridge
Some day’s back Intel introduced 2nd generation of core processors codename sandy bridge. These new processors feature improved adaptive performance and great reliability on a new socket. After hearing about LGA1155 I thought it’s just there marketing strategy but that all ended soon after I checked its specifications and features and I came to know that this family of processors is completely new, and incredible, this processor family is the biggest and powerful family then all previous processors although 6-CORE Gulftown processors are still the powerful processors are in the market but these processors will occupy competitive space below those processors.
Before the release of these processors there were many rumors about these processors I.e. these processors don’t support overclocking at all, or many peoples were saying these processors are highly overclockable. Moreover there are many things you need to know about these processors, about there architecture, features, specifications, instruction set, and much more. Some of these are still unknown but we know many things about this product now.
Concisely I am here to clear out all the myths and facts about this product in easiest and simplest way as possible.
1.0.1: Name and background
“SandyBridge” is codename for the processor architecture as the successor to Nehalem. The Development of these processors began in 2005 and was developed in Intel’s research center located at Haifa-Israel. It was announced on January 5, 2011 during Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011.the naming is the most confusing part in these processors and naming scheme isn’t good this time and totally mix-up peoples mind. E.g. the name of these processors consist of
CORE i7 2600k
CORE (brand) i7 (modifier) 2(generation) 600(model name) K (Suffix).
So every thing is changed now the word “2” shows there processors are from 2nd generation of core processor. And 600,500etc are the model number, whereas K, S, T are some suffixes which have specified meanings like
S: Energy efficient processors means they will run at lower base frequencies
T: Highly energy efficient processors (mean lowest possible TDP)
K: unlocked CPU clock multipliers.
As I also mentioned the performance of these motherboards is incredible according to the price ratio. Unlocked processors from this generation is available in 177$ to 320$ .the core i7 2600k can easily complete with core i7 950 which is the previous generation core i7 processor.
I amazed to see the temperatures of these processors because I saw core i7 with 4GHZ + overclocking is working on very low temps and on the air. The lowest possible temperatures was always a dream of pc gamer because they want good performance and low temperature to keep the pc running well, and with this series of processors there dream becomes true.
I saw many reviews and previews on different sandy bridge processors and according to these reviews there is a performance gain from 15% to 20% from previous generation of core i5, i7 processors. There are many different benchmarks and comparisons between previous generation and new generation processors but due to shortage of time and limitation of the article but the difference in this generation is notable.
Regarding graphics keep one thing in your mind that these are build-in processor graphics and every body know the quality of the graphics provided by Intel but the performance of this build-in graphics processor is much better then the last generation of core i5,i3 processors. For using the integrated processor graphics you have to use a H67 motherboard as in previous generation we were using H55 chipset for build-in graphics of the processor.
Intel putted media playback abilities in the new processor graphics which make these graphics better and energy efficient .at last we can say this built-in graphics a processor but In my opinion its insult of a gpu.
Now the Intel gpu support 4x Anti-Aliasing and I think its pretty good .And with the Support for HDMI 1.4 now we can play blueray videos.
I saw many benchmarks and gaming results on the built-in graphics and I saw that all the games like call of duty4 are running on 30-40FPS on 1024x resolution. Moreover in the strategy games like Starcraft2 game I saw game was smoothly run on 1200 resolution and on 40-50FPS at low to normal settings and according to benchmarks this graphics performs almost equally to 5450 of ATI and sometimes like GT220 of NVIDIA.
The most interesting part of these processors comes when we look in to the overclocking support. As I mentioned before I saw reviews and overclocking results where core i7-2600k was able to reach on 4.9 GHz on air cooling and with pretty nice temperatures. This shows that on liquid cooling we can overclock these processors for using 24\7.
The most difficult part of overclocking comes when you need to tweak the overclock. These sandy bridge processors sadly offer an increase of 100 MHz base clock and this is the place where most of the overclockers comes and fail to tweak it further more. In previous core processors we had easy options for overclocking but right now in these processors it’s pretty hard to utilize. in BLCK(CPU base clock) which I think don’t have much effect on these processors as its values can be changed by just a few MHz.
in short these processors are good for overclocking but using cooling solution is recommended for keeping the temperatures low and for using the pc 24\7.one more thing keep one thing in mind that only P67 chipset support overclocking so you need to use a P67 motherboard in order to overclock the PC. Moreover try to use a good motherboard for overclocking if you want a noticeable difference in the performance.
1.0.5: Power consumption
In terms of power consumption I am totally satisfied. These processors are energy efficient as new technologies allows a user to efficiently use computer resources the idle system power on core i5 pc is as low as 60W and I think with a normal graphics card 60-70W is quite impressing power consumption of a whole pc.
The “T” series processors consume about 35watt of power and “S” series processor consume about 65watt of power.
1.0.6: Cache memory
Before mentioning the amount and levels of these processors cache memory I want to tell you some thing about cache memory it’s self
Cache is a small amount of memory designed for speed up the data and instructions. It is very fast memory. There are some levels of cache memory which are present inside or close to the processor. The main function of cache memory is to store the most recent and most frequent data or instructions. In short words cache memory speed up the working of processor, so with more cache we have better performance of CPU now I am going to tell some information about different levels of cache
L1 (Level 1) : Its internal cache memory which is present inside the processor. It is the fastest cache memory. Sandy bridge processors have 64 KB L1 cache.
L2 (Level 2): Its speed is slower then L1 cache. And it is present on the processor chip. Sandy bridge processors have 256 KB L2 cache
L3 (Level 3): This cache memory is separated from the processor chip and present on the motherboard. It is slower then L1 and L2 cache memory but still it’s too faster. In these processors we have L3 cache of 3 to 8mb.
As with these new sandy bridge processors Intel has made there product line much much confusing. Because at this time we have 3 almost same looking sockets LGA1156, LGA1155 and LGA1366. You guys know much about 1156 and 1366 but some of you may don’t know about the LGA1155 processors and architecture. So in the presence of all these sockets I will try to make this identification easy for you.
First of all keep one thing in your mind that this new socket (LGA1155) is not compatible with LGA1156 and please don’t try to install a socket 1156 processor on 1155 motherboard , or 1155 processor on 1156 motherboard these 2 things are completely difference this is not only the difference of 1 pin but it’s completely a new thing.
To identify a processor look at the brand logo of the processor, the brand logo is cracking apart to reveal the new technology whereas in old core series processor there was no crack in the middle of Intel logo and core logo.
Secondly for identify the chipset keep there names in the mind. Currently there are two chipsets P67 and H67 for sandy bridge processors although there are total 10chipsets for sandy bridge, some of there are already released some of these will come with time. P67 don’t support processor graphics and H67 support processor graphics. There are some more chipsets coming soon but right now these two chipsets are available for these processors
1.1.1: New bios
The dream of PC users for bios at last became true. the new sandy bridge bios use EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface).we have too much advantages in this bios simply we have a shocking graphical user interface and popup menus animations etc better tweaking options etc.
Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) is an extension to the x86 instruction set architecture for microprocessors from Intel and AMD proposed by Intel in March 2008.
Intel® AVX is a new 256 bit instruction set extension to SSE. In this extension set the format of the instruction is changed and the size of register file is increased from 128bits to 256bits so there are two incarnations in this new instruction set the AVX-128 and AVX-256. The new format for instruction is called SIMD. AVX use 3-operand format whereas the old SSC use 2-operand format.
Here I m quoting a paragraph from Intel website to show you the working of AVX “ISAoverall computer architecture related to programming. The set includes the native data types, instructions, registers, addressing modes, memory architecture, interrupt and exception handling, and external I/O. The ISA defines a specification of functions (machine commands) implemented by a particular microprocessor design. Within a family of processors, the ISA is often enhanced over time with new instructions to deliver better performance and expose new features while at the same time maintaining compatibility with existing applications.”.”
1.1.3: NEW Architecture
The new sandy bridge processors have a completely new architecture. The new architecture is more efficient and has much new features. With these new features all the core i5, core i7 processors provide turbo boost technology (up to 3.8 GHz clock speed for better performance. all the core i3 processors provide HYPER THREADING technology. all the processors features a 64-byte cache line width. Memory controllers provide upto 25.6 GBPS bandwidth supports.
1.1.4: Turbo boost 2
On the sandy bridge processors Intel updated there turbo boost technology to turbo boosts 2. You know much about turbo boost, but what is turbo boost 2? Turbo Boost 2 can easily push a CPU of its rated .So with a good cooling solution you can use this technology to automatically increase the performance of the processor 4 to 8 times by increasing its rated TDP with this the CPU doesn’t heat up immediately And I think its save for a PC with good cooling Intel also introduced 2 new pieces of software. There is software of Tuning Utility (this software is for adjusting the turbo multipliers and other settings) and the second software is for monitoring the turbo boost working. The Operating System requests the highest processor performance and the maximum frequency of Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 is dependent on the number of active cores. So If 1 core is in use the turbo boost will give much better performance.
Moreover the turbo boost 2.0 is a changed thing and performs incredibly well but with unlocked processors the turbo boost can provide about 8x speed of its original clock speed and on core i5 processor turbo boost provide 4 x speeds.
Currently there are two chipsets P67 and H67 for sandy bridge processors although there are total 10chipsets for sandy bridge, some of there are already released some of these will come with time. P67 don’t support processor graphics and H67 support processor graphics. There are some more chipsets coming soon but right now these two chipsets are available for these processors here we are only discussing H67 and P67 chipset only these details are as fallows :
1.3.1: INTEL H67 EXPRESS CHIPSET
Some general details about this chipsets are:
Support 2nd generation Intel Core™ processors
Code Name :Cougar Point
Launch Date ;01/09/2011
Max TDP :6.1 Watts
SATA3.0 : 6 GBPS
PCI-ex lanes: 8 PCI-E 2.0
Support for HDMI, DisplayPort
1.3.2: INTEL P67 EXPRESS CHIPSET
Some general details about this chipsets are:
Support 2nd generation Intel Core™ processors
Launch Date: 01/09/2011
PCI-ex lanes::8 PCI-E 2.0
flexible display interface(FDI) support
Max TDP : 6.1 Watts
Serial ATA (SATA) 6 GBPS
Here I m giving little details on the coming soon and available Intel processors. I made this chart for making things easy:
At last I have to say many thing about sandy bridge processors as I m pretty impress with the technology it’s self and the performance. I have mentioned little detail about the entire thing or you can say that I only introduced sandy bridge processor here with little features and specification. The main reason for writing this article is to introude and explains the sandy bridge processors. And I think with this point of view the article is serving its purpose.
About sandy bridge I think it’s a worthy upgrade for those who are still using core2 series of processors or who are on LGA775 socket. Its unlocked processors are the dream of a gamer and T series and S series processors are good enough for office users because first time Intel introduced core processors with pretty low power requirements Regarding prices I think the prices are low according to the technology and each buck you will spend on sandy bridge pc is worthy. Msi, asus, gigabyte are offering some of the great motherboards for overclocking purposes are some are in valuable price.
Strategy game lovers and for gamers who don’t want to buy expensive rigs for gaming, this generation is best. Because the built-in graphics in this series of processors are performing really well, by really I mean they are working well as a processor graphics and this series of graphics perform much better then previous generation of Intel HD graphic.
All the rumors about the bandy bridge processors at last became false i.e. sandy bridge processors will not support blah blah, or sandy bridge processors are not worthy its just a 1 pin difference. Honestly as far as I know this series of processors is better then all the previous generation of processors not only in the performance but also in speed, working, stability, and computing.
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