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More Efficient CPUs from Intel Coming this Year

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 8 comments

With a recession negatively affecting sales numbers in every market, Intel is urging consumers to go out and buy new PCs. In order to spur such a buying frenzy, the processor giant is making some of its notebook offerings more powerful while making others much more affordable.

According to Intel marketing director Karen Regis, 37 percent of the installed PC base is over three years old, and 38 percent of that base is in the desktop category. Regis says this keeps a lot of PC users in the dark regarding high-quality media, networking, and security. Plus, many PC users who would like to go mobile with their hardware are currently tethered to a desk. In order to spur a jump in laptop sales, Intel plans on rolling out Montevina Plus, an update to the current Centrino 2 (Montevina) platform. The update will see Penryn processors pushed beyond the 3.0GHz mark, and have a new found emphasis on High Definition content. Many consumers may see the new operating frequency numbers and jump on the opportunity to buy a new and more powerful laptop.

With Intel claiming that Montevina Plus has a new energized focus on HD, one has to wonder where that graphics muscle is going to come from. Centrino 2 is all about working with top end graphics cards (my Centrino 2 notebook has a 9800GTS, for example), so will this new HD campaign focus on the lower end of Montevina Plus? If that's the case, perhaps we will see Nvidia's 9400M come into play, or even a new mobile IGP from Intel.

While some consumers crave power with no respect to size, others want power in a sleek and small profile package. In order to accommodate highly mobile power users, Intel is also bringing prices down on its Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processors. Such hardware, found now in laptops like the MacBook Air and other expensive ultra-lightweight notebooks, typically has a price tag of $1,500 or more. Intel wants to bring its ULV processors to lightweight mobile solutions in the more approachable $599-$1,000 range. Regis emphasized that these new notebooks will be full-scale PCs and not netbooks, with most screens being 13.3-inches+. Hopefully, the emphasis on HD will trickle down from the Centrino 2 laptops to these new ULV offerings.

Expect Montevina Plus to be rolled in the second quarter of 2009, with the price reduction of ULV chips also coming sometime this year.

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  • 0 Hide
    gamerk316 , March 9, 2009 6:45 PM
    Make a gaming laptop I can run 12 hours on without having to recharge, and maybe I'll consider buying one. Otherwise, not interested.
  • 6 Hide
    The Schnoz , March 9, 2009 7:14 PM
    I hope by focusing on HD they mean more models featuring 1080p screens, Blu-ray drives, and HDMI output, and less models featuring Intel graphics.
  • 2 Hide
    Marcus Yam , March 9, 2009 7:45 PM
    The SchnozI hope by focusing on HD they mean more models featuring 1080p screens, Blu-ray drives, and HDMI output, and less models featuring Intel graphics.

    With Intel's move to embedded graphics, there's just going to be more Intel -- at least in the near future.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 9, 2009 8:15 PM
    While the idea of an all-Intel world frightens me, I don't see why portable computers need discrete graphics cards for HD content playback. So what if your laptop takes a lot of CPU power to decode blue-ray, modern CPUs are a lot more energy efficient than any worthwhile GPU. If it runs without stuttering, who cares what component is doing the decoding.

    I don't see gaming as a top priority for most notebook manufacturers.
  • 0 Hide
    The Schnoz , March 9, 2009 10:16 PM
    hellwigWhile the idea of an all-Intel world frightens me, I don't see why portable computers
    need discrete graphics cards for HD content playback. So what if your laptop takes a lot of CPU power to decode blue-ray, modern CPUs are a lot more energy efficient than any worthwhile GPU. If it runs without stuttering, who cares what component is doing the decoding.I don't see gaming as a top priority for most notebook manufacturers.


    Actually thats incorrect. A decent GPU for HD playback, lets say ATI's integrated 3200 series, can playback 1080p video using either a low end cpu or a high end cpu that clocks down (cool n' quiet). I believe there was a Tom's Hardware article about the lowest power hungry system was a 780g motherboards with a sempron Athlon X2 BE-2350. Aww, fuck it, here the link: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-780g-chipset,1785-15.html A quote form the article: "Since the on-board GPU handles all of the decoding operations for the H.264 and VC-1 codecs, the power consumption of the brawnier CPUs increases only marginally."
    And noone ever said you need discrete graphics. AMDs integrated graphics are just fine, but Intel has been lacking in that department for quite sometime.
    The fact of the matter is when it comes to Blu-ray playback going through the GPU is much more energy efficient when using the right GPU than using a CPU. It also allows you to multi-task .
  • -1 Hide
    mman74 , March 10, 2009 1:10 AM
    gamerk316Make a gaming laptop I can run 12 hours on without having to recharge, and maybe I'll consider buying one. Otherwise, not interested.

    Why not make it fusion powered, so I never need to charge and have the graphics power of ten thousand GT-285s, no make that a billion, ... no a trillion and then I will be interested (raises little finger inverted to lip - plus evil laugh].
    But seriously does anybody else get annoyed when some schoolkid who needs to ask mummy for their next upgrade do that?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 10, 2009 3:14 AM
    Quote:
    Make a gaming laptop I can run 12 hours on without having to recharge, and maybe I'll consider buying one. Otherwise, not interested.

    Any gaming notebook with AC adaptor can do that; just as well as a desktop can.


    I fear Intel will release on chip graphics for HD video, and we'll lose the quality the big players deliver us like hardware postprocessing (deblock/dering) or deinterlacing, slower to none hardware encoding of 264 or mp4 video;and slower performance.
  • 0 Hide
    rootheday , March 10, 2009 11:52 AM
    Intel gma4500 (part of Centrino2) already fully offloads decode and post processing for SD content (HQV:~113/130); ditto for HD offload of AVC, VC1 and MPEG2 (HDHQV:~50/100). I'm betting the "HD" push here actually means adding more post processing features (maybe HDHQV of 85+?) and fixing some of the 24p & hdmi repeater that were reported last fall.