Intel started off CES 2011 in Las Vegas with a bang announcing the Second Generation Intel Core i processor family at the start of the annual Consumer Electronics show. The new 2nd Generation Intel Core i name is the official name of the “Sandy Bridge” processors which we looked at in late 2010 and bring many improvements to the graphics side of Intel processors, leading to the “Visibly Smart” tagline Intel is giving these processors.
The biggest change to the 2nd Generation Core i processor family is that the graphics processor is now built on the same piece of silicon as the processor which allows the main processor and the graphics processor to share resources. This means that with the new TurboBoost 2.0 the new processors can direct the power to the main processor when needed for processor heavy tasks and when needed divert the power to the GPU. By building the graphics into the same piece of silicon Intel told Notebooks.com that this should represent more than the traditional year over year improvements that we would normally expect.
One of the ways that the new Core i processors will benefit consumers right away is in the are of video transcoding, or as you may know it converting video for playback on a portable device like the iPod or iPad. With the new “Visibly Smart” processors consumers will have access to Intel Quick Sync Video which can convert a four minute video for playback on the iPod in 16 seconds.
In this example Intel used CyberLink MediaEspesso 6 to render a 1080P HD MPEG2 video to a 640 x 360 H.264 file for playback on the iPod Touch. In order to achieve this new speed, which taps into the hardware, software tools need to be coded to take advantage of the improvements. Intel told us that tools from Arcsoft, Cyberlink and Corel are ready to use the new tools.
Other improvements in the area of video will include a better video editing experience which should involve less waiting for consumers with Intel AVX and even mainstream gaming. We expect to see a demonstration of this cap[ability at CES 2011 using Valve’s upcoming Portal 2. The gaming and viewing experience will make use of Intel Clear Video to provide better visuals and color fidelity.
Another big feature is Intel WiDi 2.0 and Intel Insider. Intel WiDi 2.0 brings many improvements to Intel Wireless Display which allows users to stream HD content to their HDTV without any wires. The new version of Wireless Display offers 1080P HD streaming and Intel Insider which will give users access to full HD video downloads the same day as DVD with titles like Inception available later in 2011.
The Second Generation Intel Core i processor family will feature 20 new processors, chipsets and wireless adapters including new versions of the Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Intel expects the new processors and chipsets to be in over 500 PC systems from all major manufacturers worldwide in 2011. While there is no mention of Apple using the new processors, there was a rumor that Apple would switch over to the new Core i processors in early 2011.
The first notebooks to have the Second Generation Core i processors will come with the Quad-Core processors in the coming weeks and the dual-core Intel Core i Series processors will hit laptops in the February time frame. If you are looking for a new laptop right now, be sure you’re getting a great deal or you may want to hold off until the latest technology hits store shelves in February to March.