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Intel Sandy Bridge PCs arriving faster than expected

Chip maker reports rave reviews by customers

Intel's latest microprocessor family, code-named Sandy Bridge, will start rolling off production lines faster than expected due to rave reviews by customers, the company's CEO said on Tuesday.

The world's largest chip maker even plans to spend more money on new factory equipment to speed up the rollout of the chips.

Sandy Bridge is Intel's latest microchip architecture and will replace the previous generation, Nehalem architecture. Sandy Bridge chips will be speedier and more energy efficient than predecessors, and will include processing cores, a graphics processing core, memory controller and cache subsystem all on one chip.

Initial versions of the chips will be for desktop and laptop computers, not servers, according to David Perlmutter, head of Intel's chip architecture group, speaking at IDF Beijing last April. Products with the chips inside usually come out a few months after the chips ship, he said.

"I am more excited by Sandy Bridge than I have been in any product that the company has launched in a number of years," said Paul Otellini, Intel's president and CEO, during the company's second quarter conference call. "Due to the very strong reception of Sandy Bridge, we have accelerated our 32-nanometre factory ramp and have raised our capex guidance to enable us to meet the anticipated demand."

The company raised its capital expenditures guidance to $5.2 billion [B] from $4.8 billion previously.

Intel started sending sample chips from the Sandy Bridge family to customers last quarter, giving them a chance to see what the chips can do, he said. Strong feedback prompted the company to speed up the factory ramp up.

Otellini declined to say when laptops and desktops with Sandy Bridge chips inside will hit the market, though he did say Intel will ship Sandy Bridge for revenue late this year. He also said more information on the chips will be available at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco this September.


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