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It's now official: Intel's next-generation microarchitecture, dubbed Sandy Bridge, will appear in late 2010.

As reported by ZDNet UK, the announcement was made by the co-general manager of Intel's architecture group, David "Dadi" Perlmutter, at the Intel Developer Forum currently underway in Beijing.

Not that the release date is a surprise. As we noted as early as last August, rumors of a fourth-quarter release of the microarchitecture-upgrade tock to the 32nm Nehalem processors' tick have been circulating for some time. But now those rumors have been upgraded to plans.

Among other enhancements, the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture will incoporate Intel's AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions) technology, a new set of instructions that promise to improve SSE4 performance in such applications, according to Chipzilla, as " financial analysis, media content creation, natural resource industry, and HPC computing."

Sandy Bridge will also support Intel's AES encryption/decryption instructions, and it will include an enhanced graphics core that promises such niceties as improved floating point and video performance - and which sounds like a good candidate for OpenCL GPU-as-CPU offloading.

In Intel's tick-tock processor-development model, Sandy Bridge will also be the microarchitecture used when the company's 22nm fabs come online, an inordinately expensive development planned for the second half of next year. ®

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