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New Intel Core i3 chips set to hit stores

While the Sandy Bridge/Cougar Point affair is still very much in the public domain, Intel is pushing ahead with its launch schedule unhindered. We’re presently hearing that the launch for the new chips will be on a Sunday. Strange timing. KitGuru gives the specs a once over.

Searching Google for the correct page in Intel’s Ark, seems to return an error. However, clicking on ‘cache’ ensures that the original versions of the Intel second generation Core i3 processor specs do appear.

Steve Smith, in charge of delivering platforms, with a new Sandy Bridge chip

We can’t be sure if that is a genuine server error, or if some fundamental changes have been made. Just in case, we’ve done the useful thing and grabbed a snapshot in all its weirdly highlighted glory. That said, clicking ‘compare’ seemed to load up the right specification. Here’s the compare screen, ever so slightly modified to get more on one page.

Intel's i3 530 processors offered stunning value, mainly due to their overclocking ability. What now for the OC?

Probably the single biggest shame with these new low-end chips, is the removal of ‘simple overclocking for everyone at affordable prices’.  Many a budget-limited enthusiast was able to buy a chip like the Core i3 530 and simply clock it up by way more than 1GHz. In the process, the performance characteristics changed completely and you were able to get some very powerful performance results.

Intel’s new cheap chips are locked down tight. While we expect to see a ‘K’ version of this bantamweight battler, the really cheap option for peak performance seems to have been taken off the table for good by Intel.

When Intel had the weakened P4 architecture and AMD was delivering on its Athlon/FX strategy, Intel’s decision to lock down the processors proved to be a mistake. Tons of market share went AMD’s way.

This time round, we’re left asking “Are locked-down Intel processors really a mistake, and will AMD be able to capitalise again?”

KitGuru says: Now’s the time for AMD to step up. Enthusiasts are a fickle bunch. While many do have strong preferences, many of those will go out of the windows if enhanced power arrives on the desktop in the form of a low-cost, highly overclockable AMD part. Should Intel be listening for the rumbling of Bulldozers (desktop power) and growling of Lynx (quad core Fusion APU) ?

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