Last week Intel shared some details of Sandy-Bridge due out late this year... possibly providing the basis for 2011 Mac Pro (assuming there is one?!)
LinkPerlmutter said the company planned to ship Sandy Bridgebased products to its customers this year and launch it early in 2011. This chip will integrate the graphics controller and memory controller on the die. He pushed demonstrations focusing on graphics on the chip, saying Intel will be able to show an order of magnitude improvement between 2008 and 2011. In a demo showing World of Warcraft on a 65nm integrated graphics solution Intel shipped in 2008 versus the 32nm graphics the company expects to ship with Sandy Bridge later this year, the experience looked much smoother and faster.
Another demo showed how much faster it was to convert a video clip on a Sandy Bridgebased laptop as compared with one using a Core i7 laptop. Another demo pushed the idea that discrete graphics alone weren't enough for gaming, showing that a Gulftown six-core chip and moving the display of rain from the GPU to the CPU allowed for more realism; and then also allowed for a multi-way video chat.
For instance, Perlmutter talked about the "power gate" technology that allows transistors not to use power when they aren't being used, and how that enabled the company's "Turbo Boost" technology which shuts off some cores and gives more performance to the cores that are being used.
He said this will be refined more in the future, but now can allow up to 1 GHz more performance on a single core in some cases. Going forward, he talked about using the same technology in a chip that has both the CPU and the graphics. Perlmutter said this works on today's chips (which include separate dies for CPUs and graphics in the same chip package) and would be better in a chip that had combined the functions in the same die.
Perlmutter also pushed Hyper-Threading technology, saying it uses 20 percent more silicon but provides 40 percent more performance. He contrasted this with adding more cores (which he said Intel was doing as well), which doubles the silicon requirements but provides only about 1.8 times the performance. Both, he said, are important.