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Sandy Bridge, the first Intel platform to combine a graphics processor and CPU on a single piece of silicon, on display at CES this week, could have far-reaching impact on the graphics processing industry.
Intel's second-generation Core processor line represents a major upgrade in performance for an integrated graphics solution, according to several system builders in the reseller channel. In addition, based on its pricing and power-efficiency, Sandy Bridge appeals to OEMs seeking to offer smaller form-factor machines to consumers, and could threaten part of the discrete graphics market, Intel's partners say.
"It means they've got their eye on the ball," said Steve Brown, vice president of sales and business development at Blue Hawk Networks, a Campbell, Calif.-based system builder." It’s the first step in re-inventing the traditional Atom processor. It's been two-and-a half-plus years."
Manufacturers were quick to hop on board Sandy Bridge. MSI and Asus Wednesday launched products featuring Intel's Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K processors, which include integrated video compression and access to system clock settings. At CES, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo said they will incorporate the much-anticipated low-cost processors in their products.
Now it's up to partners and distributors to develop and deliver Sandy Bridge-based solutions. Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder said Intel's Sandy Bridge was likely to be relatively profitable for Intel and its partners, relatively soon.
"Traditionally the channel does really well during the launch of new technologies," said Tibbils. "Resellers adapt the technology quicker, and implement it into systems faster, while offering more one-to-one basis with the customers for communicating value of technology. Intel's a big supporter of the channel and the channel supports Intel very well by getting these products to market faster than would otherwise happen."
Not only do Intel's partners believe there is a demand for this kind of solution, they expect their customers to expect a significant leap in processing capability in order to justify an upgrade at this time.
"Customers are going to have an expectation of big gains in performance and power-efficiency when a product comes out," Tibbils said. "People really want to see that thirty or forty percent gain in performance. So I'm not surprised by Intel's major performance gains with Sandy Bridge."