Will Core Duo Notebooks Trade Battery Life For Quicker Response?

New Chipsets And Two Different Southbridges

It isn't possible to tell which of the two Southbridge components actually resides in a notebook just by looking at the case. We have to believe, however, that as a rule the base ICH7M Base (82801 GBM) version will be installed in most such devices. That's because the additional RAID functionality of the more sophisticated Southbridge costs more money, and comes into play only for a very few notebook PCs. This ignores the 17" multimedia monsters with two hard disks for the moment, because they're more likely to show up in the living room than in the office anyway.

Could Intel be planning a Napa Extreme Edition for notebook PCs?

WLAN Modules Take PCI Express Mini Card Form

The new wireless LAN module is smaller and uses the PCI Express bus.

The 3945ABG (Golan) is the first Intel WLAN module that connects to the system using the PCI Express bus rather than the plain-vanilla PCI bus. The most noticeable thing about the 3945ABG module is its dimensions: at 1.181" x 2.01" (30 x 51 mm) it's visibly smaller than earlier such components. In fact, PCI Express Mini Cards are only about half the size of classic Mini PCI Cards.

To conform to the specification, a PCI Express Mini Card socket in a notebook must support both an x1 PCI Express link and a USB 2.0 link. The Express Mini Card itself may use the x1 PCI Express link, the USB 2.0 link, or both links to communicate with the system. By contrast, the substantially larger ExpressCard socket requires that the socketed device link to the PCI Express bus.

Old vs. New: Taken together, the new components require noticeably less space in a notebook.

As did its predecessor, the 2915ABG, the 3945ABG module transmits using the well-known IEEE-802.11 a, b, and g standards. When used with Cisco access points (APs), the new unit is supposed to be able to load-balance communication among individual APs inside the broadcast range of the notebook, thereby increasing data throughput. The vendor claims that this also improves immunity to external interference, while reducing the amount of interference this device itself produces when compared to preceding models.

WPA2 and Cisco Extension V4 support are also built in, and the user interface for the Pro Wireless Software has been completely reworked. Intel couldn't yet substantiate for us whether the card actually supports wake-on-LAN as promised, and under which circumstances this feature actually works in practice. Pairing up Cisco AP softphone applications with the 3945ABG module is also supposed to improve voice quality, through the prioritization of bandwidth for VoIP calls.