CES 2011: Do PCs really need to be vastly more powerful? Intel hopes you think so

Intel launched its 2nd Generation Intel Core Processor family, code named Sandy Bridge, today, the day before the opening of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. Sandy Bridge chips are fast—Intel says some 69 percent faster on some benchmarks than the previous generation—and powerful. The new Core processors boast 1.16 billion transistors on a chip, manufactured using 32-nanometer technology. If you were to take the performance boost and apply it to a Boeing 767 aircraft, , the company said, you’d get to your destination twice as fast (not counting check in and security screening, of course).

But do consumers, who this show is all about, need this much power? Intel spent much of its morning press conference make a case that they do. One argument—the extra power means a laptop could replace a game machine, and Intel brought up folks from game companies to prove this point with demos. To make another point in favor of souping up home computers, Mooley Eden, vice president of Intel’s PC Client Group, demonstrated photo organization software, blasting through images and videos organized by person, place, and date. He also pointed out that today people do a lot of format conversion—bringing home videos from camera to laptop to cell phone, for example, and the new Core processors will make this process hugely faster, converting a 4-minute high definition video to the iPod format in 16 seconds.

Finally, he touted the chips’ appeal to the movie industry—they have built in content protection, which, Kevin Tsujihara, vice president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, says will make studios willing to release movies for download sooner and in higher definition.

For more gadget news, check out our complete coverage of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

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