Intel CEO Confirms Q1 Launch For Sandy Bridge Processors

Intel CEO Paul Otellini Wednesday in a COMDEXvirtual session confirmed an "early first quarter" launch date for the chip giant's eagerly awaited Sandy Bridge processor lineup.

Otellini is expected to officially unleash the new Sandy Bridge processors at his CES keynote on January 5.

During his COMDEXvirtual session, Otellini said that Sandy Bridge, which integrates graphics on the processor, will power a new generation of video streaming collaboration.

"What this product was engineered for was the optimized video visual experience," said Otellini in a 30 minute question and answer session with Intel Vice President Steve Dallman, who oversees the chip giant's channel. "And I think that things that would take you minutes to do on our latest chip that we are shipping today will be seconds on Sandy Bridge in terms of video compression. It really is a revolution in this (video) area. And when you look at the integration of the graphics (on a single chip) it just makes it even better"

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Otellini compared the Sandy Bridge quantum leap to breakthrough that Intel powered 17 years ago when it introduced the revolutionary Pentium processor product.

"It (Sandy Bridge) is a 486 to Pentium kind of jump," said Otellini. "What the Pentium did was enable the beginning of the multimedia (computing) era by virture of capabilities built into it. It was the right product at the right time. We are now about to move to the era of visualization - we may be in the middle of that movement today- where everything is about video whether it is consumer or corporate. It is going to be about not just watching video but sharing video and video conferencing."

Marc Fertik, sales director for ACE Technology, one of Intel's top system builders, said Intel made excellent progress when the company implemented high definition graphics on the Core i series processors, but Sandy Bridge takes it to the next level. "This is going to make high end video and graphics applications more affordable for everyone," said Fertik.

ACE is expecting to show off the new Sandy Bridge based systems in its booth at CES, said Fertik. He praised Intel for bringing technology advances to the market that will make video streaming mainstream for more home and business users.

In a live question and answer session with solution providers hosted by Everything Channel Senior Vice President of Strategic Content Robert DeMarzo, Dallman said CES would be an "opportune time" to launch Sandy Bridge. He said that Intel has already started "seeding" the channel with Sandy Bridge components and boards. "They are under embargo until the launch date," he said.

Dallman said Intel is pushing for system builders to lead the Sandy Bridge transition rather than the tier one multinational PC makers. He expects the system builder to convert as much as 80 percent from the current Core processor lineup to Sandy Bridge over the course of the next year.

"Our heart is always on the side of the system builders," said Dallman. "They are the ones that bring products to market very, very quickly and they are the ones that lead on (product) launches. They are our premier focus in getting the Sandy Bridge launch out there."