ASUS and Intel are putting together a webcast that they've invited me to attend. The topic of discussion? Sandy Bridge. The webcast will air after Intel's official announcement of Sandy Bridge at 9AM PST on January 5, 2011 at CES.

The discussion will be a conversation between myself, Gary Key (former AT Motherboard Editor, current ASUS Technical Marketing Manager), and Michael Lavacot, an Intel Consumer Field Application Engineer. 

If you have any questions you'd like to see me answer on air or that you'd like me to grill ASUS and Intel on, leave them in the comments to this post and I'll do my best to get them addressed.

Of course we will also have our full review of Sandy Bridge around the same time. 

Update: Intel posted some of the videos from this webcast on its YouTube channel. I tried to answer as many of the big questions you guys asked as I could in the video or in our Sandy Bridge review

I'll add links here for more videos as they get posted:

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  • LyCannon - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    1) Bump on the UEFI! With HDD's breaking the 2TB barrier, UEFI is even more important now!

    2) Will ASUS have triple channel memory support?

    3) Will the GPU support CUDA-like software?
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I'd definitely like to see the EFI issue clearly spelled out. After reviewing the UEFI group's homepage, , there are a few questions I still have.

    1. Is EFI/UEFI compulsory for the 6-Series motherboards, or do we have make sure to find ones with this option?

    2. Are they using EFI, or UEFI? Most people seem to use the two terms interchangeably, but the EFI spec is the older, Intel developed system, with UEFI being the name for the newer versions moving forward.

    3. It is mentioned in the UEFI group's FAQ that UEFI generally sits on top of BIOS. What does that mean in practice? How much will this speed up boot time if BIOS is still handling things like POST?
  • chaoticlusts - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I'd like to know the marketing reasoning behind putting the more powerful on-die GPU packaged with the high end CPU's which will mainly sell to people with discreet GPU's anyway

    On a related note will systems like Hydra or Optimus work if you have a discreet GPU coupled with sandy bridge or will it have it's own way of taking advantage of the double up?
  • Nickel020 - Friday, December 10, 2010 - link

    I second this. I'd really like to hear the reasoning behing only enabling the more powerful GPU on the expensive CPUs, it doesn't make any sense to me. With these price isn't so much of a concern anymore and most people who need a performant GPU will just buy a discrete video card.

    With the cheap CPUs however price is very much a concern and the more powerful GPU would go a long way here since it might save money otherwise spent on a discrete video card. This money could instead be spent on the CPU itself. So if Intel were to offer the low-end CPU with a better GPU (for a mark-up) as well, it may make sense to spend more money on the CPU instead of byuing a cheaper CPU + video card that ends up costing the same overall. This would mean more moeny for Intel and less money for the GPU vendors, but also more options/value for the consumer.

    I guess Intel either didn't think this through or (conspiracy theory!) are purposefully letting AMD have the better CPU+GPU performance platform in the low-end. More financial problems for AMD would probably mean more anti-trust problems for Intel, so making sure AMD stays somewhat financially healthy is actually very important for Intel.
  • bah12 - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    Agreed, not only that but why can I not "have my cake and eat it too" with regards to QuickSync and overclocking. Overclocking the K's requires the P chipset which does not support QuickSync. Arguably the 2 best features of the new chip cannot be enjoyed, we are being forced to choose between an overclockable setup or the industries fasted transcoding.
  • ppokorny - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Will ASUS have motherboards with the SAS capable southbridge?

    What slot organization can we expect? x16 slots spaced 3 apart for SLI/CF configs? x16 slots that shift to x8/x8 with PCI-e mux chips when both are populated? Will the slots covered by a dual-slot GPU be "valuable" PCI-E sockets, empty (save money) or useless PCI-32/33 slots?

    Will they have ATX, EATX? and mATX motherboard designs?

    What will be the state of the art in VRM design for high-efficiency across low to high CPU power load levels? Number of phases? Dual-, Tri-? mode cycle skipping techniques for low load levels?

    Has ASUS considered a "12V Only" motherboard? So a power supply could be more efficient by not producing -12V, 5V, 3.3V, etc (just 12V on/off and 5V standby) and the motherboard produce the various chip voltages required using efficient 12V DC/DC converters at the "point of load". Intel has a S5520WB motherboard with this option today and most "twin 1U" servers and blades use this technique.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Aren't hard drives typically powered off of the +5V rail? Do the server PSUs have a residual 5V output for that purpose, or is a 12V to 5V converter attached to the harddrive?
  • ppokorny - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    The Intel S5520WB motherboard provides a 4-pin harddrive molex connector to power the hard drives with 5V generated from the 12V power supply.

    Most 3.5" drives draw from both 5V and 12V. Some SSD and 2.5" spinning drives draw from only 5V. 1.8" SSD require 3.3V

    A desktop power supply with modular power cables could have 12V connectors that could support plugging in either a PEG connector cable for graphics or a cable with in-line 5V and 3.3V converters (They are about the size of a postage stamp) for hard drive connectors. Wouldn't it be nice to have the flexibility of additional PCI-Express Graphics or additional hard drive cables?

    See for examples of small DC-DC converters that generate all the ATX voltages from a single 12V input.
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    When developing the final specs of the CPU/GPU, how much influence do companies like Apple have?? As these chips are usually followed shortly by a refresh of their Macbook and Mac Pro lines.

    aka. "We'd like the GPU to put out X FPS in video encoding, minimum."

    I cannot wait for a Sandy Bridge Mac Pro 13".
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    To Gary:

    More of a wish, but here I go anyway:

    I'm getting ready to buy a SB based laptop and I hope that we get a laptop like the ASUS U30Jc, that offers:

    - Good CPU Performance (Core i3-like is plenty enough)
    - Dedicated GPU with Optimus (Or the Radeon equivalent, if it's automatic like Optimus) for GPU acceleration.
    - Outstanding battery life
    - A nice aluminum casing (Get rid of the glossy plastic around the screen though, how about more aluminium? Make it solid please)
    - No Optical Drive (who uses these anymore? I just load my movies as a file, .ISO for disks if necessary)
    - Between 12" and 15" and light-weight (Preferably under 4lbs, the lower, the better)

    I would have bought the ASUS U30Jc, but the 1366 x 768 screen, with no upgrades available, was a deal breaker for me. It's just too small of a resolution to work with all day, so please, offer an higher resolution, 1600 x 900 or even better 1920 x 1080, at least available as an upgrade.

    I realize such a screen is more expensive for ASUS to use in their design, but I wouldn't mind paying more for it and I think that this would make for a worthy U30Jc successor.

    In sort: What I'd like is a relatively solid laptop (Bonus points for lack of glossy plastic and inclusion of brushed aluminum), with "enough" CPU Power, switchable consumer-class GPU, an outstanding battery and a resolution above 1366 x 768.

    Basically, the perfect laptop for those of us who want a workstation-like laptop to work on all day long without carrying a charger. Unlike the typical workstation-like laptop, we don't want/need an ultra-powerful quad-core CPU, nor the crazy expensive Workstation class GPU, but rather we just want to have "enough" power and an outstanding battery, on a laptop that ultra-portable and doesn't cost $2000+ ($1200-$1400 instead.)

    Somewhere halfway between a consumer laptop and the usual business laptop I guess?

    P.S. For the love of the whatever you believe in, no glossy plastic for the touchpad or places that we will obviously touch!


    To Intel:
    Any chance that we'll see a CPU without an integrated GPU? Or at least the option within BIOS to entirely turn off the IGP, for those of us with a dedicated video card that don't want those extra Watts of power consumption?

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