Intel Mobile Penryn Benchmarked: Battery Life Improves Againby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 7, 2008 12:00 AM EST
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We’ve been through this before. Every year we get an update to Centrino, and every year the outcome is pretty much the same: equal or better performance, coupled with longer battery life. It’s Moore’s Law in action, transistors switch faster, they get smaller and thus Intel’s engineers can do more with them to not only improve performance but reduce power as well. The end result is that each year we have to evaluate whether or not buying a new laptop makes sense.
The last Centrino update brought faster FSB speeds courtesy of the Mobile 965 Express chipset, slightly faster CPU speeds, some additional power saving technology, and Intel’s controversial Turbo Memory. Despite what was looking like a potentially major improvement in the Centrino platform (mostly because of Turbo Memory), the end result was a fairly lackluster update to Centrino. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t much to get excited about.
The one thing we did say would happen however was that at some point, Santa Rosa (the current Centrino platform) would be updated to support Penryn. That update happens today.
As a simple CPU change, this year’s update is far simpler - it’s all in the processor. Starting this month, Intel will begin shipping its first 45nm mobile processors based on the Penryn core. On the desktop you’ll remember that Penryn offered mild performance improvements over Conroe, but in the mobile space the reduction in power consumption should translate directly into longer battery life and cooler running notebooks.
There are five mobile Penryn cores being introduced today, they are listed below:
All of the chips run at frequencies we’ve already had from current Merom based Core 2 Duo designs. They are all dual core with either 3MB or 6MB of L2 cache shared between the cores. We only have a 6MB L2 part to play with, so it’s tough to say how the 3MB cores will compete at this point.
The new Core 2 Duo T9000 and T8000 series work in modified Santa Rosa platforms, using the same mobile 965 chipset. As long as there is motherboard support, you can use a mobile Penryn (similar to the situation on the desktop).
There should be an obvious performance increase from these new mobile Penryn chips, but the more interesting impact should be on battery life. Mobile Penryn offers two technologies that don’t exist on the desktop chips, one of which is targeted specifically at increasing battery life.
Mobile Penryn supports a deeper sleep state when a core is idle, allowing the chip to go into a near-reset state with only the absolute minimal circuitry powered. The other mobile-specific feature is Intel’s Dynamic Acceleration Technology, which we will discuss and test later in today’s article.