In regards to the new Intel Core i5-2300 processor (Sandy Bridge in general too): Aside from it being a 32nm chip, are there other improvements? Is this a superior chip to the older 45nm i5 750 cpu?
In Cinebench it is 17% faster than the former i5: source. It also has an improved on die GPU that boasts performance that should be better than most low profile video cards. I don't have a source for the previous one and would have to test it in 3dmark before I would believe it. You should have a look at the Intel Processor comparison website Here to see specific changes between this iteration of the core processors and the previous ones. For real world tests I would suggest checking out this article from toms hardware it provides a bunch of PCMark Vantage benchmarks.
Yes, the Sandy Bridge chips are a substantial improvement on the previous Core ix chips.
Sandy Bridge is Intel’s latest microarchitecture, and although CPUs built to this new design still use the familiar Core i3, i5 and i7 brand names, they bring some major advances over the previous generation.
The GPU has been beefed up and moved onto the same silicon die as the rest of the CPU, making the design faster and more power efficient. New “advanced vector extensions” (AVX) help accelerate certain types of repetitive operations, promising a significant boost to applications such as media converters.
And the Turbo Boost system has been upgraded: more cores can be overclocked at once, and to higher frequencies than before, while a new “kick-down” algorithm automatically provides a brief additional boost whenever the CPU load goes up suddenly — such as when you open a program or maximise a window.
The only frustration is Sandy Bridge brings a new LGA 1155 socket. It looks identical to LGA 1156, but isn’t compatible, so upgrading will mean buying a whole new motherboard.