Intel Demos Integrated Sandy Bridge Chip At CES

Intel CEO Paul Otellini claimed Sandy Bridge processors will account for one-third of the company’s 2011 revenue

Intel CEO Paul Otellini introduced the chipmaker’s new second generation Core processor set at the Consumer Electronics Show, a line of 20 chips that will perk up a PC and laptop market challenged by the rise of tablets and other mobile gadgets.

Codenamed Sandy Bridge, the new Core chips (Intel Core i7, i5 and i3 chips) combine Intel 3D HD graphics capabilities with microprocessors on one 32 nanometre chip. This is a marked departure from previous mainstream chips that kept the graphics and processing separate.

Bridging Increases Abilities

“Integrating this architecture gives us the ability to do things that discreet units can’t do,” Otellini said, citing power management and video transcoding.

For example, Otellini said a four-minute HD video that used to take four minutes to transcode to play on an iPod could now take 16 seconds. This will enable smoother delivery of HD media content, such as videos shot in 1080p and gaming applications. Intel expects these capabilities will translate well to big-screen TVs.

How big does Intel expect Sandy Bridge to be? Otellini said the chipsets will account for one-third of Intel’s 2011 revenue and will generate over $125 billion of revenue for the PC sector: “This is a huge, huge product.”

Otellini turned the stage over to Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC client group. Eden regaled the crowd with demonstrations and wisecracks.

He showed off Intel Insider, new technology that lets consumers access movies on their PCs in full high definition. He used a clip from the Warner Bros. film Inception to show how users can access the film from CinemaNow in full HD from a laptop powered by the new Intel Core chips.

Accessing the content is not the trick; the perk with Insider is that users will be able to access the fresh content from their laptops on the same day as the films are released on DVD and Blu-ray. HD content leveraging Insider will be available in the first quarter this year.

Eden also showed how Intel’s new WiDi 2.0 technology, which supports 1080p HD and content protected with digital rights management streamed from the web or played locally from DVD or Blu-ray, to pipe Inception to big-screen televisions.

Intel also has fitted its second generation Core line with Quick Sync Video technology, which facilitates video editing. For gaming, Eden showed the Valve Portal 2 game running on the second-gen Core machines.

Intel is betting big on Sandy Bridge and so are software partners such as Microsoft. Otellini said Sandy Bridge is Intel’s best engagement with Microsoft Windows 7 and the future Windows 8 platform.

Intel has competition coming in the form of AMD in 2011. AMD will launch its Fusion architecture, which offers Accelerated Processing Units (AMD’s name for chips with integrated CPU-GPU capabilities), as 18-Watt chips for notebooks and desktop PCs.