New Wireless Adapters

In order to be able to use the Centrino 2 brand, much like the original Centrino brand, an OEM must buy three components from Intel: 1) a Centrino 2 CPU, 2) a Centrino 2 chipset and a Centrino 2 WiFi adapter.

Intel used to only offer a single WiFi adapter, in the last version of Centrino that was the WiFi Link 4965AGN. This particular WiFi adapter featured support for 2 transmit antennas and 3 receive antennas, and was capable of sending up to two simultaneous data streams. With Centrino 2, OEMs have two options: the WiFi Link 5100 or 5300. The specs are below:

  Intel WiFi Link 5300 Intel WiFi Link 5100 Intel WiFi Link 4965
Transmit Antennas 3 1 2
Receive Antennas 3 2 3
Number of Concurrent Spatial Streams 3 2 2
Price (1000 units) $29 $19 $29


The new WiFi Link 5100 supports the same number of spatial streams as the 4965 that's available in current Centrino notebooks, meaning that it can receive two streams of data concurrently, or transmit one stream and receive another at the same time. The third antenna in the 4965 is simply used to boost range, so it is possible that systems using the 5100 will have worse WiFi range than existing Centrino notebooks. Transmit performance can also be greater on systems equipped with the WiFi Link 4965, but the WiFi Link 5100 is $10 cheaper, which means we'll probably see it exclusively in cheaper notebooks.

The WiFi Link 5300 is particularly interesting as it not only supports more transmit antennas than the old 4965, but it also supports more concurrent spatial streams. Range and performance should both be improved with a properly implemented WiFi Link 5300, unfortunately we weren't able to test this as our test system on shipped with a 5100.

In our tests, transmit performance between the 5100 and the older 4965 were identical, but receive performance was significantly worse. We suspect that this was more a problem with the storage setup on our test Centrino 2 notebook, disk read performance was great, write performance just wasn't. But our concern was transmit performance, and our initial tests show that the 5100 should at least offer the same performance as the older 4965 but at a lower price.

We're expecting the nicer notebooks to move to the 5300, which should hopefully improve performance beyond all previous Centrino wireless solutions.

Later this year Intel will also reveal WiMAX versions of these network controllers, but they weren't ready in time for today's launch.

The Chipset: G45 Final Words


View All Comments

  • gfxmatters - Friday, July 18, 2008 - link

    So now that we have established that the HD video is broken (unless you like frame-skipping :>), how about the 3D and some games? I like Intel (I own many) and give them the benefit of the doubt on CPUs, but not GPUs. Why? Track record, from Vista issues to reported game perfornace and compatibility! Let's see the numbers....
  • SmartyPants - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    Not 100% sure, but don't the new Lenovo Thinkpad X200 have Centrino 2? Some people have gotten their hands on units and reviews are popping up. Reply
  • FITCamaro - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    I'm glad this feature is finally making a real push in the market. And it doesn't get any lower power than an integrated Intel GPU. All I want on the go is web browsing, DVD playback and Office. If I'm playing a game on a laptop, its with the power cord plugged in. Reply
  • nysupport - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link"> Reply
  • kevinkreiser - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    Seriously, does anyone know when G45 based boards will finally hit the market? The article mentions that GM45 laptops should be out within 30 days, but it seems like I've been waiting for what seems like 6 months for the G45. Reply
  • Brian23 - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    I think your package info for the chips is wrong. 35mm^2 is smaller than the size of your pinkey fingernail. I think you meant to say 35mm x 35mm. That would be 1225mm^2 or 1.225cm^2. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    actually, that should be 12.25cm^2 Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    Hi Anand,

    you're writing:

    "Note that here, while the voltages dropped vs. Merom, maximum current draw actually went up to 44A from 41A. This could be due to greater leakage, the higher clock speeds offered by Penryn or simple inexperience with the 45nm process compared to Intel's tried-and-true 65nm process upon its release."

    It's much simpler than that. P = U*I, so if P=const (35W) and V goes down, I has to go up.

  • crimson117 - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    Not so much "new platform" as "new marketing opportunity for OEMs".

    I don't mean to knock Centrino - the original platform really did move the wireless revolution along.

    Centrino2 however brings nothing new other than upgraded (or downgraded!) components.

    I think AMD went the right way by including graphics requirements in their">AMD GAME! platform, but only time will tell. Centrino is such a strong brand name it might be hard to top. It would be nice to see a gaming-based Centrino.
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    It'd be nice if you could also get a similarly configured system with the 2.53GHz T9400 and P9500 to try to ascertain the realworld battery-life benefits between the 35W and 25W TDPs. (I'd wish they'd just call the 25W TDP parts Medium Voltage, Mxxxx parts, which makes it more intuitive where they belong compared to LV and ULV parts.)

    And maybe a comparison between a 2.4GHz SL9400 and a 2.4GHz P8600 to see how big a difference the loss of 3MB of L2 cache is. With a 1066MHz FSB, it probably isn't a big deal.

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