Thursday, July 24, 2008

centrino 2 - how it affects you

from the coming Comex 2008 (28-31 Aug @ Suntec), we will see laptops on the new Centrino 2 platform (Wintel and Mactel inclusive).

i think a chronological look below the marketing labels will be appropriate -

- 1Q 2003: Centrino (Carmel platform, CPU codenamed Banias)

- 3Q 2004: Centrino update (Carmel platform, CPU codenamed Dothan). Dothan has a larger cache plus a heap of fixes

the Carmel platform typically used the Intel PRO Wireless 2200B and BG adapters.

- 1Q 2005: Centrino second-generation (Sonoma platform, CPU codenamed Dothan)

what came with this update was another refresh in the wireless department, the 2200BG and then 2915ABG adapters. Plus DDR2 memory and PCI express graphics, etc.

then, the performance of the Dothan CPUs were owning the desktop counterparts, the Pentium 4s. In that year, to take advantage of the speedy performance, i actually changed my motherboards in my 3 home PCs to be Dothan-capable.

- 1Q 2006: Centrino third-generation (Napa platform, CPU codenamed Yonah and Merom)

with a refresh update, dual core processing entered the market here. We saw processors with marketing numbers such as T2300, L2300, etc. As you can see by now, the chipset and wireless components are also updated.

- 2Q 2007: Centrino fourth-generation (Santa Rosa platform, CPU codenamed Merom and Penryn)

this is the current platform most people are buying today. A prominent update was to the wireless, which features Wireless-N (draft) support. The CPU marketing numbers hover around T7100 to T7700. There was another refresh update, which brought in faster processors, such as the T8100, T8300, T9300 and T9500 (all odd numbered).

- 3Q 2008: Centrino fifth-generation (Montevina platform, CPU codenamed Penryn 2nd generation)

fresh from the stove, this fifth-generation Centrino will be called Centrino 2. It's armed with an arsenal of new processors such as P8400, P8600, P9500, T9400, T9600 and X9100 plus DDR-3 support and another wireless-N update. There will be small form factor chips available for niche products, such as Macbook Air - U3300, SU9x00, SL9x00 and SP9x00 series of processors.

what this new platform means to the general consumers? In short -

- Lower power consumption. The P series has a thermal design power of 25W, 10W lower than Santa Rosa counterparts.

- New GM45 chipset that can switch between integrated graphics or discrete graphics via hardware or software. Supports DDR2 and DDR3 memories.

- Upgraded wireless adapters. From the older 4965, we have now 5100 and 5300. The difference between the latter 2 is the number of transmit antennas (therefore the cost).

- Refreshed models by notebook makers. If you're buying one now, be sure to get a Montevina based notebook. Look out for them in the coming sale fairs.

No comments: