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Intel Talks Second Generation Core Processors
Chip manufacturer Intel has upped speed and power with its new Intel Core Processors. Enid Burns takes a look.
Posted January 07, 2011
Intel upped the ante on speed when it trotted out laptops and desktops using the new Intel Core Processor at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. The i7, i5 and i3 chips promise vastly improved performance over previous processors with the addition of Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. Previously known as project Sandy Bridge, the new chips use 32 nanometer technology allowing it to contain close to one billion transistors on a single chip.

Turbo Boost is found in the 2nd Generation i7 family, which includes, mobile and desktop processors; extreme edition and mobile processor extreme, and in Intel Core i5 mobile and desktop processors. A live demonstration showed the second-generation processor booster making quick work of complex video rendering and other enhances. In essence, it makes tasks that previously took hours to complete now finish in minutes.

The new processors also boast an integrated graphics and video built into the processor chip. In the past, integrated graphics wasn't a feature worth bragging about - a sort of low-end, economy-class tie-in that made cheap computers good enough for Farmville but that's about it. But a side-by-side demonstration showed the video capabilities of integrated graphics are now actually better than those of dedicated, high-end desktop graphics cards.

Intel showed video rendering in real time by having a presenter use motion-capture-like technology using a web cam to make facial expressions and speak dialog for an avatar in real-time. The implications of being able to create an avatar - possibly one that looks just like you - and control its gross and nuanced movement in real-time means it's now possible to put your real live, real time self into, say, a videogame - as opposed to just controlling a pre-rendered self. Of course, such a game doesn't exist yet, but Intel has done its part to make it possible.

Naturally, the new capabilities and added power improve all computing activities, not just games, from tabulating spreadsheets to creating and editing home or corporate videos.

Intel also noted that to date, movie and television studios have been reluctant to stream HD content directly due to security concerns. Some proprietary 3rd party delivery systems are in play, but there is otherwise little in the way of stopping a clever desktop user from recording the HD content being streamed - until now.

The new Intel Core processors feature improved security measures that ensure streamed content remains copy-protected. To prove the point, Intel announced deals with studios including Warner Bros. Digital Distribution; Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment; Image Entertainment; Yash Raj Films and UTV Motion Pictures all making high definition content available in devices powered by the new chip.

Intel has inked additional deals with Best Buy's CinemaNow; Sonic Solutions; Dixons Retain; WBShop and Hungama Digital Media Entertainment to deliver content online, and expects to announce yet more content and distribution relationships going forward.

With that, Intel suggests that streaming of new movies and TV shows can become available close to if not the same time as a retail product on DVD, Blu-ray or Prime Time.

2nd Generation Intel Core processors are available immediately (prices vary).
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