AnandTech had the opportunity to benchmark an engineering sample of the Core i5 2400, an upcoming processor in Intel's 32nm Sandy Bridge lineup. The engineering sample isn't representative for the retail product that will be launched next year because Turbo mode didn't work yet, but so far it looks like clock for clock, Sandy Bridge may be about 13-17 percent faster than what you can buy today, while consuming less power as well. The site also reports that the integrated graphics part of Sandy Bridge is surprisingly good, the initial results indicate it's very competitive to low-end graphics cards like the ATI Radeon HD 5450.
If Intel's roadmap and pricing hold true, then the Core i5 2400 should give you an average of 23% better performance than the Core i5 760 at a potentially lower point. If we compare shipping configurations, the Core i5 2400 should actually perform like a Core i7 880 despite not having Hyper Threading enabled. Clock for clock however, Sandy Bridge seems to offer a 10% increase in performance. Keep in mind that this analysis was done without a functional turbo mode, so the shipping Sandy Bridge CPUs should be even quicker. I'd estimate you can add another 3 - 7% to these numbers for the final chips. That's not bad at all for what amounts to a free upgrade compared to what you'd buy today. Power consumption will also see an improvement. Not only will Sandy Bridge be noticeably quicker than Lynnfield, it'll draw less power.
While Nehalem was an easy sell if you had highly threaded workloads, Sandy Bridge looks to improve performance across the board regardless of thread count. It's a key differentiator that should make Sandy Bridge an attractive upgrade to more people.