What processors are compatible with the Intel LGA 1155 Socket?
Intel's got New Stuff: The Sandy Bridge Processor
Formally announced at last week's CES convention and available in stores this week, Intel's new line of processors, code-named Sandy Bridge, are creating quiet a stir. These new chips offer a huge technology boost, even over Intel's still-cutting-edge i7 chips released last year! Here are a few things you should know about Intel's latest products:
I don't know why Intel has managed to gather what must be the best microprocessor research team and the worst (or at least craziest) marketing team on the planet, but there it is. The proof is in the new convoluted naming scheme they've cooked up to name their product.
First off, the Sandy Bridge CPUs are considered Intel's "Second Generation Core Processor," the first being the i3, i5, i7 etc. As such, the new processor line retains the introductory nomenclature, i5 and i7. Following the Core number, there's a four-digit SKU designating its place in the overall lineup. Finally, some releases have single letters-T, S, and K at the end; T and S designating lower voltage models and K representing an unlocked core multiplier. The inaugural release includes i5s ranging from i5 2300 to i5 2500K and also includes three i7 branded CPUs called the i7 2600, 2600K, and 2600S respectively.
While Intel's previous line of Clarkdale i3 and i5 processors made use of integrated graphics, with a GPU sharing real estate with the other cores, Sandy Bridge processors really kick this capability up a notch. The new on-die graphics support up to DirectX 10.1 and are more than capable of anything save top-tier enthusiast-level gaming. The graphics processor is also fully supportive of HDMI 1.4 (resolutions up to 2160p) and Blue-ray 3D playback!
Video transcoding, a process that is traditionally handled with raw processing power, also receives a huge boost with Sandy Bridge, thanks to Intel's new Quick Sync Video engine. This comes into play when you wish to convert a DVD into a digital file for playback on an iPod for example. You'll be able to rip your video much faster with a shiny new Intel processor.
No matter what other features Intel cooks up for CPU release, you can always count on more power. While the introductory line of Sandy Bridge processors only target the mid-ranged market, with price-points only slightly outside the two hundred dollar range, the performance of these chips outstrips almost anything else on the market, hammering AMD into the ground.
Sandy Bridge architecture is home to a new, simplified (if not always for the better) overclocking protocol. Previously, over-clocking could be done in a variety of ways, best used together bus speeds, core clocks, chip sets, and other components could all be overclocked individually. This has changed with the newly integrated clock-generator which binds the entire system to the base-clock which is, in turn, bound to the CPU. Thus, the processor's multiplier becomes the only viable go-to for overclockers - a multiplier which is only unlocked on Sandy Bridge CPUs with the K suffix and which costs an extra twenty bucks.
While it is more restrictive, it is also simpler, with fewer changes and better returns. Techradar tests clocked the highest-end release, the i7-2600k, up to a staggering 4.6GHz on air cooling! (See their full spread of benchmarking results here)
As with previous releases, Intel is requiring users to purchase a new motherboard with a new LGA1155 socket and one of two new chipsets, H67 and P67.
The H67 chipset is the cheaper of the two but still grants plenty of features:
All-in-all, the new Sandy Bridge line of processors are right on par with Intel's habit of being well above par, and, while they do require a new motherboard to accompany them, should be well worth our time and money. Along with the new socket and first offerings, we can look for a new line of top-tier processors, paired with another new LGA2011 socket, in the third quarter of this year.
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