Intel's Core Duo Launch - Notebook Performance Revealedby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 5, 2006 8:00 PM EST
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The new Centrino
When Intel introduced their Centrino brand and announced that they were shifting to more platform-centric marketing, it made the job of the consumer a lot easier. Instead of worrying about silly things like processor names and specifications, you could just walk into a store and ask for a Centrino notebook and you’d be guaranteed that you’d get something decent. At the same time, Intel’s efforts have made our job a little more difficult because we focus on much more than just the overall brand. We’re of course interested in the individual components that make up the brand, but that means that we now have to talk about individual product code names, as well as brand code names. Keep that in mind, and be patient with us, as we take you though all of the parts of the new Centrino.
The new Centrino brand being announced today is Intel’s Centrino Duo brand. As has been the case since the introduction of Centrino, in order for a manufacturer to call their notebook a Centrino it has to meet three very specific requirements. The CPU, chipset and wireless adapter must all be provided by Intel. It gets a little more specific than that of course, since Intel usually tells the manufacturer exactly what chipset and what wireless adapter they must use from Intel’s line as well. If you follow all of Intel’s instructions and buy the right components, you get access to some of Intel’s Centrino marketing funds and you get the right to use the Centrino name on your laptop. Since the original introduction of Centrino we’ve basically seen manufacturers offer both Centrino and non-Centrino versions of their notebooks and we expect that to continue with the Centrino Duo platform.
So what does Intel require of manufacturers to be Centrino Duo certified? The notebook manufacturer must use an:
1) Intel Core Duo microprocessor
2) Intel 945 Express Chipset
3) Intel 3945ABG Wireless solution
If all three requirements are met, then the notebook is officially a Centrino Duo. And here is where those code names start cropping up. The Core Duo microprocessor is nothing more than the dual core Yonah we’ve been talking about for quite a while now; and the 945 Express chipset should sound very familiar as it is a mobile version of the 945 chipset that was released on the desktop side last year.
Now the combination of the Core Duo processor, 945 Express chipset and the 3945ABG wireless solution is what is known as the Napa platform. In other words, the code name for Centrino Duo is Napa. Its predecessor is Sonoma, which is the code name for the Centrino platform that was composed of Intel’s Pentium M (based on Dothan), 915 chipset and 2915ABG wireless solution. We will refer to Napa and Sonoma later in this article, so just keep in mind that Napa is the current Centrino Duo while Sonoma is the previous generation Centrino based on Dothan.