I mean, "Sandy Bridge?" That's a euphemism for unwashed undercrackers if ever I heard one. Intel seems to think it's an appropriate codename for its latest generation of processors, however. Processors apparently so good that they prompted Gabe Newell to say they're "a game-changer" and will "bring a console-like experience to PC." This is, apparently, because the CPU includes built-in graphics processing that's actually up to the job of modern games.
The statements, as statements by successful and important men do, made their way into news stories across the web. In many cases, this prompted some concern at a) the news outlets and b) Gabe, given that early reviews (here's Anandtech's) of Sandy Bridge had rather made a mockery of Intel's claims that Sandy Bridge's built-in graphics processing could outdo some 40 to 50% of current graphics cards.
Capable integrated graphics has long seemed the future of the PC, but there just hasn't been anything out yet to free us from the tyranny/pleasure of installing separate 3D cards. Apparently Sandy Bridge barely competes with a contemporary $50-100 board, so Gabe's comments sound pretty fishy.
Then VentureBeat posted a video of Portal 2 running on a Sandy Bridge chip. And whaddayaknow? It looks like it runs okay.
Crucial, I guess, is that Valve have specifically optimised their game for Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics. Whether others follow suit will probably depend on the chip's adoption rate, and of the complexity/hassle of converting any titles also designed for console. Or is the above video just a case of bullshot? Guess we'll find out when Portal 2 launches.
By all accounts, Sandy Bridge makes an excellent gaming processor when it is paired with a decent graphics card, however.