Details of Intel's Sandy Bridge 32nm processors have leaked, the successors to the current Core i3 and Core i5 chips, and anyone hoping for a straightforward upgrade is out of luck. According to documentation acquired by Bit-Tech, the new mainstream Sandy Bridge CPUs will use a new LGA1155 socket, one pin short of the existing LGA1156 sockets, and not be backward compatible. Meanwhile Intel's Sandy Bridge "E" (apparently either "Enthusiast" or "Extreme") "Patsburg" CPUs will get a new LGA2011 socket, with plenty of extra pins for its four channel DDR3 memory controller and 32 lane PCI Express 3.0 support.
Both dual- and quad-core mainstream Sandy Bridge processors will be on offer, with targeted TDPs of 65W and 95W respectively, and each will support both Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading. Where the current CPUs have the IGP, PCI Express controller and memory controller onboard, Sandy Bridge will add the integrated graphics too; the memory controller will be the same dual-channel 1333MHz system as now.
As for the "Patsburg" enthusiasts' platform, its 32 PCI Express 3.0 lanes can be split as 2x16 or 4x8, depending on how many discrete GPUs are in use, and will be connected via a 4x PCI-E 2.0 DMI link to the Southbridge. Details on the latter are scant, but there's talk of it having two SATA 3Gbps and ten SATA/SAS 6Gbps ports. As for number of cores, various sources have tipped four, six, and even eight in the "Patsburg" chips, using Hyper Threading to double that amount.
The mainstream Sandy Bridge CPUs are expected to arrive in late Q4 2010 or, more likely, early Q1 2011, while the enthusiast models aren't predicted to drop until Q3 2011.