Every two years Intel is committed to introducing a new microprocessor architecture. It's a part of the whole tick-tock strategy that Intel hatched back in 2005 - 2006. Thus far, every tock has been a knockout - with no competitor able to touch it. It started with Conroe in 2006
, continued with Nehalem in 2008
and early next year we'll meet Sandy Bridge - the third tock in Intel's cadence. Correction, you'll be able to buy it next year, but you'll get to meet her today.
Sandy Bridge is a unique part for Intel. Not only does it address the neglected quad-core CPU market by moving it to 32nm and giving it a healthy performance boost (10%+ clock per clock, 23%+ compared to similarly priced parts) but it also brings Intel's integrated graphics on die. And I hate to ruin surprises, but it's actually not half bad.
For the first time, Intel's integrated graphics is actually performance competitive with low end discrete GPUs. You're not going to want to throw away your GTX 460, but if you were going to spend $40 - $60 on a GPU before, you may not need to after Sandy Bridge.
Want to see how it performs?