If you could not tell from our Pentium M processor review, we are extremely excited about Intel's new mobile chip. The first Intel processor designed from the ground up to find its way into notebooks only, Intel's Pentium M processor and Centrino solution are certainly giant leaps forward when it comes to mobile processing power. Many kudos to Intel for the technology but ultimately it is up to the hardware manufacturers to take advantage of the Pentium M and utilize it to its fullest extent. On top of its raw performance power the Pentium M includes a number of features aimed at ushering in a new era in mobile computing. These are the advantages of the Pentium M that OEMs must leverage to make the processor a success. For example, replacing the processor in a Pentium 4-M notebook solution with a Pentium M will result in a speed increase, as we detailed in our processor review, but the user will be left with the same physical box based on the Pentium 4-M thermal characteristics. It is the job of the notebook producers to take advantage of the Pentium M's cool operating temperature and low power consumption to produce full featured notebooks in form factors that were previously not obtainable with notebook chips.

Without vendor support, Centrino technology would be nothing more than a pretty (and expensive) ornament. Desktop processors and chipsets are not 100% dependent on OEM and ODM support, as end users can upgrade their processors and Intel can make their own motherboard solutions. The Centrino products are a bit different since Intel does not produce any notebooks themselves. It takes 3rd party notebook producers to build and sell products based on the mobile technology. Based on past success, Intel suspected that if they build it [a new mobile part designed just for that], they will come. Intel did build it, and they did come.

A large number of vendors have implemented Centrino or Pentium M based notebook solutions; Intel has plenty of major launch partners (around 10) and the field of Pentium M adopters will only continue to increase as the year goes on. This is because notebook producers are excited about the potential of the Pentium M line to provide processing speed with low power requirements. Notebooks manufacturers are also excited because it gives them a chance to revamp some aging notebook designs and create entire new lines designed around the thin and light computing that the Pentium M was produced for.

After already looking at Centrino technology we can now move one step forward and examine some of the Centrino and Pentium M solutions hitting the market. We had the opportunity to put four new notebooks through the AnandTech mobile gauntlet. The contestants include FIC, IBM, and Dell. Each notebook is a complete new design and each has a Pentium M processor at the helm. Are notebook producers utilizing the Centrino and Pentium M technologies to its fullest extent? Will Intel deliver on its promise to "change not only how you work but where you work?" March 12 is here so let's find out.

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  • builda - Thursday, February 2, 2006 - link

    There appears to be a wide spread fault with the Gigabyte NB-1401 model notebook, where it reports having system disk errors or cannot find the hard disk. We have 7 of this model notebook and now 6 of them have reported the same problem. After running chkdsk to temporarily repair the errors that had been caused on the harddisk I found the problem returned the escalated to the point the harddisk could not be found. I further checked using Hitachi drive fitness testing tool which reported a cable error on each machine. Originally I returned 3 of these for repair as they were just outside the warranty period and the supplier checked with Gigabyte with the fix being to rub the cable all over with an eraser!! This worked for a short period but the problem has returned a couple of months later and has spread (like a virus) it now affects 6 out of the 7 notebooks. The supplier has just gone into administration and my next step is to approach Gigabyte who's support service has been found to be extremely unresponsive in the recent past.
  • dbiberdorf - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    I beg to differ with the reviewer. The keyboard on this unit is mediocre, and the track stick buttons are an abomination. They sit too low in the case and have too much travel. It makes my thumbs hurt after a while, and I often have to press them with a finger to get them to activate fully.

    The most powerful notebook in the world loses big points in my book if they built-in keyboard and pointing devices are weak. Certainly it's the case here. Dell, please figure out how to buy good keyboards for your machines!

    Finally, the power adapter, while featuring convienent wrap-around cabling, is phenomenally large. My cordless phone at home is smaller. With the large profile of the machine, the adapter has to go in a side pocket of the carrying case, adding a little more bulge to your day.
  • visibilityunlimited - Thursday, October 30, 2003 - link

    Screen resolution beyond SXGA+ would be unreadable using Windows for example while being more readable using Linux.

    Both the Linux text console and graphics mode X-windows-system screen drivers can be fully customized to display text at any resolution. The text characters could easily be displayed with current software at 1200dpi or more (if only the graphics processors and monitors could operate at that speed) and still retain the current character size. Text can currently be generated from vector based Type I and TrueType fonts for rasterizing at any resolution. Image scaling is a different and very easy problem.

    The Windows OS is the real culprit holding back general usage of higher resolutions and typeset quality displays because of the OS being handicapped by the inertia of antique display modes. Darn. I want 3200x2400 or more!

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