Intel’s Sandy Bridge comforts Hollywood

Announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Intel’s latest range of Core i Series processor chips – codenamed “Sandy Bridge” – claim faster speeds, better energy performance, improved 3D and graphics performance, lower power consumption, the ability to overclock when needed without overheating, and a Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme to protect the content of motion picture studios.

Hollywood is tickled pink about this last feature, the so-called “Intel Insider DRM chip”, as it incorporates a hardware-level end-to-end copy protection and management feature for high definition movies downloaded from online streaming services.

Confident in the security offered by the new chip, Warner Bros. Digital distribution has, apparently, agreed to make 300 HD titles available for streaming to computers using Intel’s new processors built-in Insider feature. Intel is reportedly looking to broaden its partnerships with content providers too, and working towards including the “Insider” feature in lower-end consumer processors.


While the new CPUs allow big movie houses and content aggregators some protection against piracy, ordinary folk who do not own computers with the new Insider feature are likely to be locked out of much of the content on offer unless they upgrade.

And should the majority of streaming content come to be protected in this way, all the world’s PC owners will need to upgrade to enjoy streaming entertainment, a situation that will likely be met with considerable consumer backlash.

The new processors will reportedly be available as dual- or quad-core chips. They will use version 2 of Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, which will let them overclock, or exceed each processor’s rated speed.