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. 

Index Napa vs. Sonoma - Tangible Features


View All Comments

  • OvErHeAtInG - Saturday, January 07, 2006 - link

    You hit the nail on the head. The increased power consumption would not be worth it. And IIRC was pointed out in the article, higher memory freq would provide a really minimal performance increase since the FSB is already lower bandwidth than that. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    Did anyone else notice the strange mention of three compaq laptops on page 13 IIRC of the review?

    Anyway, this looks like a good product from Intel which will keep them ahead in mobile areas for the foreseeable future. AMD may catch up of course, but we will see what they offer later this year. I'm sure that revision F will be good though, and DDR2 will reduce power consumption on AMD notebooks a bit more.
  • Stolichnaya - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    Looks like the 'i' is going to crash on it's left side any time... Reply
  • nserra - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    You are all dreaming here, thinking that amd can release a processor (platform) as good as this for the notebook area. The only extra is the 64 bit.

    They lack all the others, and primary ones:
    -Good platform from one of their partners.
    -Low power chipset to couple with the processor.
    -Brand recognition....
  • nidomus - Monday, January 09, 2006 - link

    coughfanboycough Reply
  • Brucmack - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    I'm normally not a spelling nazi, but this is the second time I've seen this on Anandtech, and it's really annoying...

    On page 5, the word you're looking for is "segue", not "segway".
  • Shark Tek - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Great package but I don't have money for it :(,1759,1908402,">Dell Inspiron E1705

    Type: Gaming, General Purpose, Media
    Operating System: MS Windows XP Media Center
    Processor Name: Intel Pentium M T2500
    Processor Speed: 2 GHz
    RAM: 1024 MB
    Hard Drive Capacity: 80 GB
    Graphics: nVidia GeForce Go 7800GTX
    Primary Optical Drive: Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
    Wireless: 802.11a/g
    Screen Size: 17 inches
    Screen Size Type: widescreen
    System Weight: 8.2 lbs
  • Calin - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    But that isn't a portable laptop, is a towable one :( Reply
  • Shark Tek - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    That power consumption will be equal or better than previous Pentium-M generation. Now lets wait for AMD what they have to offer when they launch the Turion64 X2.

    They wont be sufficient to compete with "Core Duo" the only real advantages over intel are 64 bit support and cheaper cpu prices, nothing else.

    Intel will leap forward a few more years in the mobile market.
  • Viditor - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link


    They wont be sufficient to compete with "Core Duo" the only real advantages over intel are 64 bit support and cheaper cpu prices, nothing else

    Keep in mind that you're just making an "enthusiastic guess" here...
    AMD has started a new process of strained silicon on their 90nm chips which is specifically targeted at reducing power and increasing effeciency.
    These are released in new steppings rather than new architectures (remember Rev E cut power requirements in half compared to previous generations of 90nm chips).

    Even more important is the platforms...remember that the Turion isn't even 1 year old, and the platform designs are still minimal at best. It would be foolish to discount AMD at this point.

    That said, Intel deserves hearty congratulations on the duo and it's platform! 2006 is going to be an interesting year...!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now