Sandy Bridge has a dark secret

Big, brown, and aimed at CUDA

Intel LogoWHAT DARK SECRET doth Sandy Bridge hold? How is it going to crush CUDA and make Nvidia’s fading hopes fade faster? Well, if you look at the right side of the die shot, you will see something odd, and that is the 10 ton weight whistling down on Nvidia.

CPUs have always been good at most generalist code, and the common wisdom is that a GPU is better for some things. That may be true, but the intersection of the sets {some} and {things} is vanishingly small. On the consumer side, there is one big one, and that is video encoding/transcoding.

Sandy Bride Decoder block

Dark but serious, your mother warned you about these types

The block above is a video transcode block, and it takes up about 3mm^2 +/- a tenth or two. Even at this diminutive size, it will be more than enough to allow a low end iSomethingmeaningless to smoke a GTX480 at one of it’s strong points once the proper drivers are released. You can get a little hint of it here, compare that to the best Nvidia can muster and prepare to watch the executive stock sales spike. Nice knowing you CUDA, can’t say it was fun.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate