Intel Centrino/Pentium-M Notebook Roundup: Dell, FIC and IBM Examinedby Matthew Witheiler on March 12, 2003 11:22 AM EST
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If you could not tell from our Pentium M processor review, we are extremely excited about Intel's new mobile chip. The first Intel processor designed from the ground up to find its way into notebooks only, Intel's Pentium M processor and Centrino solution are certainly giant leaps forward when it comes to mobile processing power. Many kudos to Intel for the technology but ultimately it is up to the hardware manufacturers to take advantage of the Pentium M and utilize it to its fullest extent. On top of its raw performance power the Pentium M includes a number of features aimed at ushering in a new era in mobile computing. These are the advantages of the Pentium M that OEMs must leverage to make the processor a success. For example, replacing the processor in a Pentium 4-M notebook solution with a Pentium M will result in a speed increase, as we detailed in our processor review, but the user will be left with the same physical box based on the Pentium 4-M thermal characteristics. It is the job of the notebook producers to take advantage of the Pentium M's cool operating temperature and low power consumption to produce full featured notebooks in form factors that were previously not obtainable with notebook chips.
Without vendor support, Centrino technology would be nothing more than a pretty (and expensive) ornament. Desktop processors and chipsets are not 100% dependent on OEM and ODM support, as end users can upgrade their processors and Intel can make their own motherboard solutions. The Centrino products are a bit different since Intel does not produce any notebooks themselves. It takes 3rd party notebook producers to build and sell products based on the mobile technology. Based on past success, Intel suspected that if they build it [a new mobile part designed just for that], they will come. Intel did build it, and they did come.
A large number of vendors have implemented Centrino or Pentium M based notebook solutions; Intel has plenty of major launch partners (around 10) and the field of Pentium M adopters will only continue to increase as the year goes on. This is because notebook producers are excited about the potential of the Pentium M line to provide processing speed with low power requirements. Notebooks manufacturers are also excited because it gives them a chance to revamp some aging notebook designs and create entire new lines designed around the thin and light computing that the Pentium M was produced for.
After already looking at Centrino technology we can now move one step forward and examine some of the Centrino and Pentium M solutions hitting the market. We had the opportunity to put four new notebooks through the AnandTech mobile gauntlet. The contestants include FIC, IBM, and Dell. Each notebook is a complete new design and each has a Pentium M processor at the helm. Are notebook producers utilizing the Centrino and Pentium M technologies to its fullest extent? Will Intel deliver on its promise to "change not only how you work but where you work?" March 12 is here so let's find out.