If you’ve been paying attention over the past year or so, you might remember that Intel released quad-core Nehalem-derived mobile CPUs before their dual-core siblings. Those only followed in early 2010 after the shrink to 32 nm. Intel’s next-gen Sandy Bridge processors will be 32-nm parts from the start, but according to CNet News, the chipmaker is nevertheless planning a similar two-stage rollout, with quad-core parts to hit stores first.
The site says Intel revealed at a "recent investor conference" that the quad-core mobile Sandy Bridge part will launch at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 5, while "more mainstream" dual-core parts will follow at a later date. A less-official industry source elaborated on the latter point, telling CNet News the mobile dual-core Sandy Bridge chips are due in mid-February—and that Intel is forbidding PC makers from discussing them publicly.
Now, keep in mind that the chips coming in January will be Intel’s first 32-nm quad-core mobile parts. Most likely, power efficiency will be better than with Clarksfield, Intel’s current quad-core design for notebooks, which is still fabbed on a 45-nm process. I’m not holding my breath for quad-core Sandy Bridge notebooks with the same kind of battery life and form factors as today’s Core i3 and Core i5 laptops, though.