Centrino 2 Exposed: A Name Deserved?

Conclusion: Showing Promise

Waiting for Centrino 2

We wish we could answer the questions posed at the beginning of this article and tell you whether or not Centrino 2 deserves its new name. Unfortunately, none of the notebook partners we spoke to before the launch were ready with hardware to evaluate — and now that we know a little more about the delays holding back certain components of the platform, we understand why.

On paper, at least, Centrino 2 looks like it will be a solid step forward with regard to performance and energy efficiency. It’s always a good thing any time you can get faster frequencies, a quicker front side bus and more graphics power at a similar or lower thermal envelope.

We look forward to testing the GM45 chipset and its brand new graphics core. The inclusion of switchable graphics and the implementation of CrossFire compatibility neutralizes two of the advantages AMD’s Puma platform looked like it’d have over Centrino. Also, DisplayPort and HDMI connectivity help maintain Intel’s leadership position in I/O connectivity.

We’re hopeful that the new wireless networking solution is able to deliver on its speed promises. And the idea of WiMAX when we’re out of range for Wi-Fi is an interesting proposition as well.

We expect there will be plenty of vendors taking Core 2 Duo T9600 or Core 2 Extreme X9100 CPUs and putting them in large chassis with two discrete GPUs in CrossFire configurations. What we’d really like to see, though, is an affordable Core 2 Duo P9500-based system on a GM45-based platform able to hold its own in graphics and video playback.

Not Quite Ready

If brute force is what you’re after, feel free to check out the first batch of hardware based on Montevina, including all of the new Core 2 Duo chips, PM45, and Intel’s older networking offerings. Just remember that the actual Centrino 2 launch is still around the corner, bringing with it GM45, Intel’s newest wireless solutions, and the option to tie vPro into your notebook. Road warriors looking for the slimmer, lighter platforms will want to wait until early August, as will IT admins considering adding Centrino with vPro to their enterprise networks.

Intel deserves praise for holding back the components it didn’t feel were ready for launch. At the same time, we’re sure the company is under pressure to get as much of Montevina out into the market and available as possible. The CPUs and PM45 chipset should go a long way to counter AMD’s Puma initiative, but not nearly as far as GM45 and the new networking hardware will. Wait a month. See what the complete Centrino 2 package is all about, and reevaluate whether or not the technology bests what companies like HP and Toshiba are doing with AMD’s Puma platform.

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  • The Montevina chipset also introduces support for 8GB of RAM. IMO that's a major advantage of the Centrino2 and should have been mentioned in the article.

    While 4GB more than enough for now, it might not be enough in 2-3 years.
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  • Thats nothing close to a revolutionary upgrade like the core2 from pentium4, only FSB and some memory upgrade on the motherboard; PC6400 is so last year for desktop. Certainly do not deserve the name change, i think just a marketing attempt try to stimulate the sales.
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  • Lot of exposing going on today, lol...
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  • silversoundThats nothing close to a revolutionary upgrade like the core2 from pentium4, only FSB and some memory upgrade on the motherboard; PC6400 is so last year for desktop. Certainly do not deserve the name change, i think just a marketing attempt try to stimulate the sales.


    Yeah, fairly underwhelming overall--at least until we see hardware from Intel.
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  • I would like to point out that a Z06 gets better mileage (city and highway) than a GT-R, V8 vs TT V6, while both having very comparable power and lap times depending on the track style. Just putting it out there, because I know quite a few were thinking it. Haha.
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  • mrmessmaI would like to point out that a Z06 gets better mileage (city and highway) than a GT-R, V8 vs TT V6, while both having very comparable power and lap times depending on the track style. Just putting it out there, because I know quite a few were thinking it. Haha.


    I'd argue that it depends on how you're driving the car ;-) I have a much easier time burning through a tank in my V8 than I ever did the bi-turbo V6.
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  • Ok, yes many V8 suck a lot of gas often being paired to heavier vehicles. But I would still wager a quality V8 vs a quality twin turbo V6 have very similar appetites. A very nitpicky thing to say, I will admit.
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  • mrmessmaOk, yes many V8 suck a lot of gas often being paired to heavier vehicles. But I would still wager a quality V8 vs a quality twin turbo V6 have very similar appetites. A very nitpicky thing to say, I will admit.


    No worries ;) More than anything I was trying to make a brute force vs. finesse analogy--probably could have picked a better subject, but I'm a car guy.
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  • "The Lost World (what a horrible sequel that was)."

    I'm sorry, is this a blog?

    If you're going to put your opinion about all sorts of silly things in articles, then please post the article as a BLOG and not some type of news story. I think we (the readers) have been over this.
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  • JonnyDough"The Lost World (what a horrible sequel that was)."I'm sorry, is this a blog?If you're going to put your opinion about all sorts of silly things in articles, then please post the article as a BLOG and not some type of news story. I think we (the readers) have been over this.


    Thanks for the feedback!
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  • Intel also promised a mobile quad-core in H2 of this year. I'm hoping that with some newer gpu offerings (read beefy) there will be some high power gaming laptops to choose from this holiday season...
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  • "...Apple is able to finesse that hardware into a package less than an inch thick..."

    isnt finesse a noun?
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  • Celticbattlepants"...Apple is able to finesse that hardware into a package less than an inch thick..."isnt finesse a noun?


    It can also be used as a verb ;-)
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  • So, does this mean that the Compal JHL90 whitebook is strictly Montevina and not Centrino 2?

    Also, I was wondering if this new centrino 2 platform will support the next batch of cpus beyond the penryn mobile series or will an update be needed like Santa Rosa had.

    One last question, :). Is there any real performance difference between say a t9300 800Mhz FSB and an update t9400 1066Mhz FSB, and maybe even a P9500 1066Mhz FSB?

    I know these are pretty technical questions and would appreciate any and all responses. :)
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  • orangesodazzSo, does this mean that the Compal JHL90 whitebook is strictly Montevina and not Centrino 2?Also, I was wondering if this new centrino 2 platform will support the next batch of cpus beyond the penryn mobile series or will an update be needed like Santa Rosa had. One last question, . Is there any real performance difference between say a t9300 800Mhz FSB and an update t9400 1066Mhz FSB, and maybe even a P9500 1066Mhz FSB?I know these are pretty technical questions and would appreciate any and all responses.


    Orange,

    You'd need to built the Compal whitebook up using the full complement of Centrino 2 components--it's a Montevina notebook, though.

    Re: CPUs: If you're talking about the upcoming Nehalem-based processors, then no, this platform will not be able to support them.

    Hopefully we'll know soon enough about the advantages of the faster front side bus. Intel didn't have any hardware ready for the launch, so we still don't know.

    Thanks!
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  • Thanks for the info cangelini, I guess I need to choose between the JHL90 and the older FL92 now. Decisions, decisions.
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  • mrmessmaI would like to point out that a Z06 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette_Z06 gets better mileage (city and highway) than a GT-R, V8 vs TT V6, while both having very comparable power and lap times depending on the track style. Just putting it out there, because I know quite a few were thinking it. Haha.


    There are major differences between the Z06 and GTR. for one the Z06 is ~750lbs lighter. The Z06 is also 2wd unlike the GTR's 4wd. Inherently a turbo driven engine will be more fuel efficient if driven at lower throttles since the vehicle will operate as a naturally aspirated smaller engine with less reciprocating inertia, friction, etc. Trim 750lbs and use a rwd only on the GTR and the MPG would most likely tilt toward the GTR.

    For example a Caparo T1 with 550hp will run circles around a z06 (and just about everything else)and get 33MPG. Is that because it's 1000lbs lighter than the Z06, you decide.

    The analogy as to cpu(s) and chipsets is fair. Since a smaller process cpu or chipset is like a smaller v6 engine. While the increased clock rates yield greater performance, such as boost from a turbo. Turbo has been a cliche term used for computer components for decades so this statement just continues the trend.
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  • GMail Is Still Beta
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  • I like Intel, but to give them a "pass" on graphics and video is a little incredible without a real review. To give them a pass on it when they are at the center of the Vista graphics class-action lawsuit, have a well known track record of low performance on compatibility and games, and there are reported issues on C2 HD video (AnandTech) amazes me.
    Intel & Vista: http://www.builderau.com.au/news/soa/Microsoft-Vista-Capable-debacle-points-to-Intel/0,339028227,339286445,00.htm
    Intel and Sims2: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2007/tc2007081_108723.htm?chan=search
    Intel and HD video: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3356&p=5

    Let's please get a system review!
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  • graphicsrusI like Intel, but to give them a "pass" on graphics and video is a little incredible without a real review. To give them a pass on it when they are at the center of the Vista graphics class-action lawsuit, have a well known track record of low performance on compatibility and games, and there are reported issues on C2 HD video (AnandTech) amazes me.Intel & Vista: Intel and Sims2: Intel and HD video: Let's please get a system review!


    They certainly don't get a pass. Not knowing what the integrated core is capable of, we can't pass judgment one way or another. Absolutely we'll be taking a look at some of the Centrino 2-based platforms once they become available next month.
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