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The Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this week will provide the first details of Sandy Bridge, its new 32nm microprocessor architecture that will power a broad range of its chips over the next two years.

Intel is also expected to show off Moorestown, the shrink of current Atom processors for tablets and smartphones. Many expect it to show Groveland, an Atom variation aimed at set-top boxes.

At least one and maybe more Atom-based SoCs are expected, including Groveland a chip aimed at set-top boxes, says EE Times.

IDF will showcase USB and PCI Express 3.0 and there will be a smattering of news tidbits about support for parallel programming in Intel multicore processors.

At the pre-show Sunday, Hardware Secretssaw demos for the following ideas:

  • A photo-recognition system for smart phones
  • The ability to run programs (“apps”) on your TV at the same time you watch live shows
  • A projected screen on your kitchen countertop that responds to the touch and is capable to recognize objects on the countertop and interact accordingly
  • A face-recognition system implemented inside a car, allowing the car to automatically load the driver’s preferred settings, and also to identify if the driver is sleepy or driving in an unsafe manner
  • Using the embedded camera of netbooks for activities with early elementary students

But the big news is Sandy Bridge. Sandy Bridge is Intel’s next microarchitecture, or redesign, of its processors–which the chipmaker does every two years. The current design, Nehalem, was introduced in November 2008 and is used in all Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. Intel will continue to use Core i3, i5 and i7 brand names for the Sandy Bridge processors for all notebooks, desktops and server platforms.

Anand Lal Shimpi, a noted hardware reviewer at Anandtech, said he thinks entry-level GPUs will be unnecessary in the wake of Sandy Bridge’s introduction.

Sandy Bridge is Intel’s first architecture to merge graphics and x86 cores on a single die. It uses 32nm process and is the first Intel chip to support vector graphics and AES security instructions. It is expected to be released in Q1 2011.

In Sandy Bridge, Intel improved graphics speed by integrating graphics functions onto the CPU. Sandy Bridge will include new instructions for handling multimedia tasks, called Advanced Vector Extension (Intel AVX). They will assist in accelerating a host of multimedia tasks, including video and audio processing. Sandy Bridge will also include silicon dedicated to handling the transcoding, or converting, of data from one format to another.

Keynotes slated this week include:

  • Day 1: Opening keynote with Paul Otellini, president and CEO. “Performance Computing: Making the Extraordinary Ordinary” with David Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group.
  • Day 2: “Creating the Experience Continuum on Intel® Architecture” with Renee James, vice president and general manager, Software and Solutions Group. “Smart, Connected, Transformational – Fueling the Continuum of Computing with the Intel® Atom™ Processor” with Doug Davis, general manager, Embedded and Communications Group.
  • Day 3: “Context: How it Will Really Change Everything” with Justin Rattner, vice president and director, Intel Labs, and chief technology officer and Intel Senior Fellow

The CE 4100 (Sodaville, above), is a follow on to Intel’s first SoC for TVs, the Canmore chip announced last year at IDF. The new chip replaces an 800 MHz Pentium M core with a 1.2 GHz Atom, increasing L2 cache from 256 to 512 Mbytes.

This week we will likely find out if GoogleTV products from Sony and others will use an Atom-based SoC for set-top boxes and tvs.

Meanwhile, just weeks ago, archrival Advanced Micro Devices gave the first peak of Bobcat and Bulldozer, its first new x86 cores designed from a clean sheet of paper in nearly a decade.

By mid week everyone should have a clearer view of what the technical battle lines will be between Intel and AMD for the next couple years.

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