The Test:

Santa Rosa Test Bed
Performance Test Configuration
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T7700
(2.4GHz, 4MB Unified Cache)
Chipset Intel PM965 (800MHz FSB)
RAM DDR2-667 (2x1GB), 5-5-5-15
Networking Intel 82566MM Gigabit, Intel 4965AGN WiFi (802.11n)
Hard Drive Hitachi 7K100 80GB
System Platform Drivers Intel - 8.2.0.1014
Video System NVIDIA GeForce 8600M
Video Drivers NVIDIA 158.18
Audio Intel HD Audio
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

NAPA Test Bed
Performance Test Configuration
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T7600
(2.33GHz, 4MB Unified Cache)
Chipset Intel 945PM (667MHz FSB)
RAM DDR2-667 (2x1GB), 5-5-5-15
Networking Integrated Gigabit LAN, Intel Pro Wireless 3945 (802.11g)
Hard Drive Hitachi 7K100 80GB
System Platform Drivers Intel - 8.2.0.1014
Video System ATI Radeon X1600
Video Drivers ATI V8.352.1
Audio Intel HD Audio
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

For our test Intel sent us an unbranded OEM whitebook built around its new Santa Rosa platform. While serving as a fine platform to test Santa Rosa on, it didn't give us much opportunity for direct comparison to other Centrino designs. Given that the Santa Rosa Merom CPU and the Napa Merom CPU aren't interchangeable due to different pinouts, developing an apples to apples comparison became rather difficult.

We turned to our original Napa test platfrom from our first Merom article, the ASUS Z96j. Outfitted with a Core 2 Duo T7600 (2.33GHz), and the same DDR2-667 memory and hard drive from our Santa Rosa test bed, it was the closest competitor we could find. Of course the Z96j used a mobility Radeon X1600 while our Santa Rosa test platform used a GeForce 8600M, so we couldn't perform any 3D gaming tests comparing the two (there will be a follow-on article looking at the performance of the GeForce 8M series of GPUs).

Using two very different notebooks made battery life comparisons meaningless: they had different screens, different GPUs and different batteries. But we did look at average power consumption between the two notebooks to give us some indication of the battery life of this new Centrino platform compared to its predecessor.

Honestly there's much more testing that has to be done in order to give us a true verdict on the Santa Rosa Centrino platform, the majority of which will force us to wait for a better test platform. The verdict is still not out on Turbo Memory as you've already seen and we do need to look at the range and power consumption of Intel's 802.11n solution compared to its competition in the market. Once better Santa Rosa platforms become available for us to test, you can expect a follow-up to this article focusing on what we've left out.

Note that in our charts we have two Santa Rosa bars, one listed as w/ TM, indicating that Turbo Memory was enabled for that configuration.

Turbo Memory Testing General Performance
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  • Lord Evermore - Saturday, May 12, 2007 - link

    Mobile sockets are just oh so cute!

    Just what we needed. A nice new proprietary memory card that you can only get from an OEM included in a system. What actual interface type does it use? Can the amount of the flash that's reserved for ReadyBoost or ReadyDrive be changed? Seems kind of stupid if not, a total waste of half the flash you paid for. Even with 1GB completely available, in some cases that will be useless for speeding up hibernation since it might not be enough to store the system state.

    For that matter, if you've got the money to be buying the flash, which is guaranteed to be more expensive than a 1GB flash thumbdrive, wouldn't you be buying with enough memory to start with, and possibly also getting a hybrid hard drive that already had flash (possibly more than just a piddly 1GB)? Really I still just don't see a point other than to sell more flash memory. Put more DRAM into the drives, they need it. With enough memory in the system, you already have a disk cache in memory that can be used for the often-needed data, which is faster than even the Flash. One of the big things with Vista is how it always seems to be using so much memory, and this is exactly the reason.

    IS 802.11n ever actually going to be finalized? Or have they contracted beta-fever from software developers? And dang, that laptop maker is serious about keeping that wireless card in place.

    Reply
  • coolme - Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - link

    The intel turbo memory module uses PCI express x1 interface.

    The major thing about flash is that it's non-volatile meaning that it can be used for boot-up and/or hibernation sequences.
    Reply
  • jediknight - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    There were really three things I wondered about this platform:
    1) Performance of robson
    2) Performance of GMA X3000
    3) Battery life improvements

    None of which were answered in this one.

    I second the suggestion to hold off on reviews until you have something to really.. review.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    The power consumption figures are certainly interesting. The only difference between two systems is the video cards and the CPU, and I doubt the Geforce 8600M consumes less idle power than the Radeon X1600. The power consumption figures indicate there may be a battery life increase of 25-30%. Reply
  • rexian96 - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    Many questions posted above & none answered. Well, I'll add mine. Are these new T7300 processors compatible with current socket 479? Did I miss it or the article never talked about it. Reply
  • Freddo - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    On the second page; "Despite the minor changes to the CPU, Intel has introduced a new socket pinout with Santa Rosa, meaning that these new Merom chips won't work in older platforms and vice versa." Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    What a worthless review.

    Why even bother with it? If Intel is too arrogant to provide something worthwhile, why do them the favor of reviewing their item. Am I missing something here? They send an item with two big changes - a new IGP and a new solid state memory that is supposed to be the greatest thing since Cheddar Cheese, and neither can be reviewed properly. It's either the height of audacity or stupidity, and I don't think they're stupid. My guess is they just want press for their items without having to reveal too much, assuming there is anything rational about it. I don't get it.

    I wouldn't do them the favor of even reviewing stuff like this. They get exposure, albeit not particularly positive, and they give essentially nothing. If they want to play weird games, let them play it alone. Sending something like this is just arrogant.
    Reply
  • mongoosesRawesome - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    How does linux support the Robson technology? Does it see half the memory as part of the hard drive? Reply
  • solipsism - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link


    Is it 8GB or are we stuck with the same 4GB limitation as in the 945PM chipset?
    Reply
  • solipsism - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    It's still a 4GB maximum

    Page 30 :: http://cache-www.intel.com/cd/00/00/33/40/334087_3...
    Reply

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