Sandy Bridge to star at IDF next week

Not to let AMD steal all the thunder for CPU+GPU designs, Intel has come forward to announce that the star of the forthcoming IDF show in San Francisco will be its Sandy Bridge processor, with its multi-chip packaged graphics core.

According a report on business news site Bloomberg, Intel intends to present final silicon on its upcoming 2000-series processors, better known as Sandy Bridge. The show starts on September 13th, and Intel usually delivers on these promises.

Contrary to AMD's solution, the first generation of processors to come out of Intel's labs is a 32nm processor on the same package as a 45nm graphics core, but not on the same die. The core itself is a 32nm derivative of Nehalem-C / Westmere with the added 45nm-built graphics core, which Intel promises to be far superior to its GMA ancestors.

With Sandy Bridge, Intel will be breaking down some serious barriers and overcoming the GPU disadvantage it currently has when pitted against the likes of Nvidia and most of all, its age-old rival, AMD.

Early benchmarks place Sandy Bridge graphics performance at a level well beyond the company's puny GMA HD graphics, but it will still be a DirectX 10-compatible part. The CPU itself is expected to deliver roughly 30 per cent performance boosts over the previous generation of chips.

Intel has also moved most of the northbridge silicon on-die, just like the predecessors, meaning they will be able, just like AMD's Fusion, to build two-chip chipsets and considerably lower the power consumption and footprint of mobile devices.

According to Intel, Sandy Bridge will begin production in Q4 2010. In terms of both price and performance, the processors are expected to crush their predecessors.

AMD on track - on the journo's track, that is

One thing is guaranteed at IDF: while Intel is busy indoors introducing Sandy Bridge to the throbbing mass of journos and partners, AMD will be doing its best to counter the IDF effect by introducing visiting journos to AMD Fusion.

Considering the apparent similarities in both companies' strategies, you can expect AMD to put up a good fight and offer journos a taste of AMD Fusion somewhere nearby, as it has done in past years. Only this year, the stakes are higher - and the overall impression must be stronger.

This will be very interesting to watch.