The Roadmap

The roadmap for mobile is a lot easier to read through than the desktop one. There aren't as many competing products within a given price class. I've put together the Q3 2010 - Q3 2011 mobile CPU roadmap below, but I've left out the value segments. Sandy Bridge won't make it down there until late next year at this point, so Celerons are off limits for now.

If you're an Apple user the parts you'll want to pay attention to are the 2620, 2540 and 2520 - these will likely be in the next 15-inch MacBook Pro. Clock speeds are up slightly compared to what Apple is shipping today, which means you'll probably see at least a 10%+ performance improvement across the board. I'd expect that number to grow to as high as 15 - 20% depending on the application.

Click to Enlarge

I don't believe Apple will abandon NVIDIA as a result of Sandy Bridge's vastly improved graphics given SB's lack of OpenCL support.

Final Words

Sandy Bridge looks to be very capable, both on the desktop and mobile side. Both CPU and GPU performance are much improved, the latter particularly in notebooks as all launch mobile Sandy Bridge parts will ship with the higher end 12 EU configuration. Intel is clearly going after the low hanging fruit in the GPU market, though I'm curious to see how far upstream Intel will push its advance.

It's not very hard for Intel to more than double integrated graphics performance. The question is how will it compare to AMD's Llano, a part that will undoubtedly have a competant GPU but a CPU core based on AMD's Phenom II architecture. 2011 is going to be an exciting time for the semiconductor market.

The Processors
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  • Doormat - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Can I get more info on why SB doesn't support opencl? Is it intel drivers or the hardware just can't do it? That's incredibly disappointing. I was hoping for a 13"'MBP but it doesn't look like it'll happen.
  • Mike1111 - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Even if it's only a driver problem, will Sandy Bridge's GPU be able to offer at least the same OpenCL performance as the current Nvidia solution? Because IMHO Apple won't tolerate a slower GPU (in regards to OpenCL) in a newer MacBook Pro.
  • B3an - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    It's for the best. Now you'll get a real and fully capable laptop/OS instead, thats probably faster too, for the same money that would have gone into that Macbook.
  • Roland00 - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Where they differ though is how they switch. Nvidia Optimus (unlike Nvidia Switchable and ATI switchable) does not require you to log out to switch. Furthermore Nvidia Optimus is a software switch that automatically switches based off the program used, while Nvidia Switchable (still used on some older designs like the Z series Sony) and ATI Switchable requires the user to tell the computer to switch graphics.

    Now ATI is working on a similar solution as Nvidia Optimus, and Mac has created their own version (with their own IP) of Nvidia Optimus.

    So yes Intel will allow you to switch graphics with Sandy Bridge just like you can do so with Nehalem but how it is implemented is up to other companies such as ATI and NVIDIA.
  • Thermogenic - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Small correction - switchable graphics do not force you to log out to switch, that's a limitation artificially placed on the user by Apple. I switch my Alienware m11x all the time, and technically prefer that to the Optimus method, although I'm sure most non-techie users prefer optimus.

    As another user posted, the biggest gain from Optimus is nVidia driver support.
  • Roland00 - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    that was an error on my part. Prior switchable graphics before Optimus either required a logout/reboot or had an interposer that was a "combined" driver of "intel and nvidia" or "ati and ati." The interposer forced you to use specific drivers developed by your oem and was rarely update and sometimes it simply didn't work. Jared talked about it here when he was introducing the review of optimus.
  • Stuka87 - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    So just what do you do for a living that allows you to put yourself up on a pedestal above AMD's engineers? Have you worked with them and therefore have first hand knowledge?

    Your comments seems very narrow minded regardless of your background though.
  • StevoLincolnite - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    "Because, since all of AMD's engineers are fools, AMD's products will not work appropriately. Only AMDiots will buy those crappy products."

    I must say... "Wow".

    And here I thought the fanboys moved from Intel/AMD/nVidia/ATI and onto the PC vs Mac debate, seems I was mistaken.

    sans2212, you are an idiot. - I would like to see you create a multi-billion dollar company if you think you can do better than AMD, seriously.

    Until then... Grow up and get a clue and stop being an incompetent, ignorant, moronic, douche.
  • gfody - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    best ignore them
  • bennyg - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    Steve Irwin made a career of hitting stupid animals with a stick and look what happened to him.

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