infoTECH Feature

November 14, 2011

Intel Unwraps Second Generation Six-Core Sandy Bridge Processors

Semiconductor processor leader Intel (News - Alert) Corp. has unwrapped its highest-end, second generation six-core processor family called Sandy Bridge with the introduction of two new processors in the family – the Intel Core i7-3960X processor extreme edition and the Intel Core i7-3930K processor. According to Intel, with over 2 billion transistors, Intel’s latest client processors offer the processing power equivalent of approximately 365,000 Intel 4-bit 4004 CPU introduced 40 years ago. This month Intel celebrated the 40th anniversary of 4-bit 4004.

Intel said that users and developers of the most advanced applications, especially in content creation, 3-D rendering and gaming, will see benefits from the additional cores, large CPU caches and new quad-channel memory support. With more people posting rich media online and playing immersive games, software developers are welcoming the performance and features offered by these new processors, claimed Intel.

In a statement, John Carmack, technical director at id Software commented, “To render our uniquely textured worlds, RAGE uses a very compute-intensive real-time process to transcode texture data from highly compressed form on disk to a compression format the GPU can use directly for rendering.” Carmack further added, “With two more available cores, a six-core system can transcode over 50 percent more texture data per second during game play than a four-core system, bringing new surfaces to full resolution quicker.”

According to the maker, these processors also support the new Intel Advanced Vector Extension (AVX (News - Alert)) instructions which benefit 3D rendering and physics.

Similarly, Harald Schneider, CTO of MAXON Computer said, “MAXON Cinema 4D and Cinebench are designed to take advantage of all available processor threads.”

“Our new, optimized render engine intelligently divides render tasks across the threads for a more evenly distributed workload, giving us maximum throughput and performance. In addition, our upcoming service update will include Bullet-based dynamics optimized with the new Intel AVX instructions for faster physics simulations. This means faster previews and final rendering, and the ability to create even more complex scenes with more objects, more effects and higher resolutions,” noted Schneider.

Implemented in Intel’s industry-leading 32 nm manufacturing process, the new CPUs run at base speeds of 3.3 and 3.2 GHz with 15 MB and 12 MB of L3 cache respectively. The two new six-core processors, Intel Core i7-3960X and the Intel Core i7-3930K, are available now at 1000 unit prices of $990 and $555, respectively.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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