CHIPMAKER Intel has released its next line of chips today.
Code-named Sandy Bridge, the chips combine a graphics processor and one or more CPU microprocessor(s) on one silicon die.
Intel announced the release of its latest chip family in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show, which is one of the biggest technology events on the calendar, to allow its partners to show off their products made with the chips.
Shedloads of computer, telly and gadget makers will introduce hundreds of products based on what Chipzilla calls the second-generation Intel Core processor family.
Sandy Bridge's main advantages are for laptops but it will face some stiff competition from AMD, which will be releasing its Fusion chips at CES. Fusion is also a combined graphics and CPU chip technology.
However Sandy Bridge is all about how people want better graphics on their portable devices. Intel claims that Sandy Bridge chips can quickly convert video from one format to another. While they are still not as fast as stand-alone graphics chips, they are better than nothing.
Sandy Bridge can handle DirectX 10.1 graphics, but it can't manage the most advanced graphics standard, DirectX 11.
Besides you don't often stick a separate $500 graphics card into a laptop unless you have asbestos trousers.
The first Sandy Bridge parts available from Intel will be the quad-core models. Sandy Bridge chips also feature version 2.0 of Intel Wireless Display to connect to a telly without having to plug it into a cable.
There is also the movie digital restrictions management (DRM) technology which is called Intel Insider. This can unlock premium high-definition content such as movies on a computer.
Systems using the first Sandy Bridge chips will be available on 9 January and products with dual-core models will be in the shops later in the month. µ