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Centrino 2 Exposed: A Name Deserved?

Centrino 2: The Curtain Pulled Back

A Platform: Defined

Like its predecessors, Centrino 2 is defined by four key components: a processor, chipset, wireless networking solution, and wired networking controller.

The Santa Rosa platform — the one just before Centrino 2 — began its life relying on Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor. Manufactured at 65 nm and operating on an 800 MHz front side bus, it did its job well enough, but was replaced earlier this year by the much more attractive 45 nm Core 2 Duo. Armed with more cache and higher clock speeds, that quiet Q1 refresh represented a good time to upgrade. Intel ups the ante even higher with Centrino 2 by pushing a full lineup of chips employing 1066 MHz front side bus speeds and TDPs of either 35 W or 25 W.

The Mobile Intel 45 Express chipset family displaces the old GM965, to which we say good riddance. Gaming of any sort was wishful thinking on the Intel GMA X3100 core. We can only hope that 3D performance gets a much-needed boost this time around.

Less prominent is the replacement of Intel’s 82566MM/C Gigabit Ethernet chip with a newer 82567LM Gigabit controller, likely tied to the new out-of-band management support Centrino 2 introduces. There are a couple of new wireless options, referred to as the Wi-Fi Link 5100- and 5300-series cards. Intel also plans to launch WiMAX/WiFi Link 5150- and 5350-series cards later this year with built-in support for, of course, WiMAX.

Lastly, Centrino 2 supports a second generation of Intel’s Turbo Memory technology code-named Robson 2. The first time around, Intel armed its Santa Rosa platform with either 512 MB or 1 GB NAND flash cards designed to work specifically with Vista’s ReadyDrive and ReadyBoost features. While Intel hasn’t said much about Turbo Memory as it pertains to Centrino 2 (perhaps because the technology never really demonstrated compelling gains?), we do know that the platform will support optional 2 GB Turbo Memory kits, and later, 4 GB kits. We can only hope that the larger partitions for ReadyDrive and ReadyBoost translate into palpable gains.

Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • santos79
    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.
    Reply
  • silversound
    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.
    Reply
  • snarfies1
    Lot of exposing going on today, lol...
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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.
    Reply
  • mrmessma
    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.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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.
    Reply
  • mrmessma
    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.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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!
    Reply