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


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  • Shark Tek - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Lets hope that AMD release Turion's X2 with a even more reduced power consumption and DDR2 support that will be really "Sweet".

    Se imaginan un Turion64 X2 o un Core Duo combinado con un x1800 Mobility Radeon eso seria la combinacion perfecta para 'Lan Parties'. Sin la necesidad de andar con equipo pesado.

    Can you imagine a notebook with Turion X2 or Core Duo matched with a X1800 Mobility Radeon. That will be the perfect combination for Lan-Parties. Without the need for carrying heavy parts from your Desktop @ home.

    Just imagine that ....
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Very impressive. Reply
  • monsoon - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    yeah, me too i'm curious about the Apple products coming with Yonah, and how they stack up to X2 athlons PC Yonah notebooks...

    ...and overclocking !!!

    PS - BTW did you try to overclock the ASUS Yonah notebook ?
  • PeteRoy - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    no Reply
  • Doormat - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Page loads took forever but the review was interesting.

    I'm still interested to see what Apple does with these chips in their iBooks next week.

    The battery life of the T60 was impressive - 227 minutes for DVD playback. Finally, I can watch an LOTR episode on one battery!

    The release of only 1 single core chip speaks volumes - intel is ditching single core chips when they can. They want to push dual core hard.
  • Calin - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    In DVD playback the DVD unit consume some of the power... I wonder if playing a DVD from a virtual drive or from a network would prolong battery life Reply
  • Furen - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Very lovely power consumption. I suppose power consumption will be a bit higher when both cores are at 100% usage but most of us dont keep our CPU usage pegged at 100% when using a notebook and specially not if we care about power consumption at all. It'd be nice if Intel had decided to go to 90nm on the chipsets but I suppose their power consumption is not that high to begin with and Intel needs a use for its 130nm fabs... Reply
  • Calin - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    off course the power consumption will be higher with both cores at 100% usage - but in this case the "work per watt" is greater, as processors don't use all the power in the system.
    Just that people would prefer a laptop that consume a battery charge faster but finish the work much faster than the other way around.
  • cheburashka - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Intel's chipset shortage problem is because all current MCH's are still on 130nm, which is maxed out in the fabs. They would love to get the 90nm Broadwater/Crestline chips out the door to free up 130nm capacity to build low end parts again. Reply

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