Deep dive into Sandy Bridge GPU at RWT

Posted on Tuesday, August 09 2011 @ 21:54 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
David Kanter dives into the Intel Sandy Bridge architecture at RealWorldTech.
Sandy Bridge is the first GPU tightly integrated with an x86, using a shared L3 cache to communicate. Graphics performance has doubled, thanks to new shader cores and more powerful fixed functions. Sadly though, there is no OpenCL or DirectX11 support till Ivy Bridge in 2012. The multimedia support is superb and power efficient, with full hardware decoding and accelerated encoding exposed through an API. Much work remains for future generations, such as the 22nm Ivy Bridge, but this is a huge advance for Intel and one that has been recognized by key customers such as Apple.

This report is the first deep dive published on Intel's Sandy Bridge graphics architecture. We delve into the GPU, starting with the software model, system architecture and covering the fully programmable shader cores, fixed function hardware and texturing and render output pipelines. Our detailed look is complete with comparisons to the previous generation and competing GPUs from AMD.




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