At a recent developer conference, Intel said its next-generation laptop chips based on the Sandy Bridge architecture will be able to play Blu-ray 3D movies while preserving battery life. Could this mean Blu-ray playback might finally arrive on the Mac? Probably, not but I’ll keep hoping.
You won’t need to buy a separate graphics processor to specifically view 3D content. Sandy Bridge chips are slated to go into production later this year, and computers with ’em could arrive in the first half of next year.
Intel’s current laptop chips are capable of 1080p video, and improvements in Sandy Bridge chips could bring a noticeable graphics improvement to computers, according to “PC World” (http://macosg.me/2/so).
Sandy Bridge will be the first mainstream Intel chip to integrate the graphics processing unit (GPU) onto the same piece of silicon as the main processor, or CPU. This is possible thanks to Intel’s 32-nanometer manufacturing technology.
Sandy Bridge processors will keep Intel’s current Core i3, i5 and i7 branding but will abandon the existing three-digit model suffix for a new four-digit “2000” series indicator. The entry level chip will be the dual-core 3.1 GHz Core i3-2100, with the quad-core 3.1GHz-Core i5 2400 slotting into the midrange and the 3.4GHz Core i7-2600 quad topping things out at launch, according to “Tech Radar” (http://macosg.me/2/sp). Further dual and quad-core chips will fill in the gaps. Six and eight-core chips will also follow later in 2011.
Sandy Bridge chips will also purportedly offer native support for USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0, so look for USB 3.0 on upcoming Sandy Bridge Macs (unless, as I’ve posited before, Apple decides to jump directly to Light Peak technology).
— Dennis Sellers