Could IGP-free Sandy Bridge chips be on the way?

As we noted yesterday, the latest from the rumor mill tells us Intel's 22-nm Ivy Bridge processors will be out on April 8. A fresh story by VR-Zone suggests that, amid the preparations for that launch, Intel is also readying a small batch of new, quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs.

That batch will reportedly be made up of three offerings: the Core i5-2550K, Core i5-2450P, and Core i5-2380P. The i5-2550K will be 100MHz quicker than the existing i5-2500K, VR-Zone claims, while the rumored i5-2450P will be 100MHz slower than the i5-2500, and the i5-2380P will have the same clock speeds as the i5-2400. Most notably, Intel is expected to disable the integrated graphics and support for VT-d and TXT extensions in all three models.

These three new Sandy chips are due out early next year, VR-Zone adds.

I'm not sure if I buy this one. As the site suspects, those models might allow Intel to sell otherwise functional chips that happen to have faulty integrated graphics. If that's the case, though, then the timing seems a little off—why a year after the original Sandy Bridge launch? Intel could have other motives, but it's not like the integrated graphics in Sandy Bridge processors serve no purpose in workstations or gaming PCs with discrete GPUs—QuickSync is a worthwhile feature for sure.

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