With the launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge processors drawing closer, we're starting to see more and more bits of information make their way online. Yesterday we got a glimpse at four laptop models expected to feature the new silicon early January, and now CNet brings us some fresh information about the chip's media playback abilities. Specifically, it confirmed Sandy Bridge would include dedicated media acceleration circuitry with support for DirectX 10.1 and OpenCL 1.1.

Speaking at a Wells Fargo Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference earlier this month, Intel's vice president and director of PC Client operations and enabling at Intel, Stephen Smith, said pulling videos and photos from the web or your own devices as well as transforming them into different formats will be dramatically faster thanks to these media accelerators - which is good news especially for systems relying solely on the built-in graphics.

On the other hand, graphics chips from AMD and Nvidia already support DirectX 11. Smith also pointed out that Sandy Bridge should enable slimmer designs that perform more like mainstream laptops, and reiterated that the company is on track to deliver 22-nanometer processors by the end of 2011 with Ivy Bridge. The latter will integrate a DirectX 11 compatible graphics chip and should bring quad-core designs to the entry-level segment.