After a few setbacks, Intel has finally pulled back the curtain on its Centrino 2 notebook platform. Among other goodies, the new platform brings a new wave of 45nm Core 2 processors, x45 Express chipsets, and 802.11n Wi-Fi network controllers.
Let's start with the Centrino 2 processor lineup, which includes six new dual-core chips:
|Core 2 Extreme X9100||3.06GHz||1066MHz||6MB||44W||$851|
|Core 2 Duo T9600||2.80GHz||1066MHz||6MB||35W||$530|
|Core 2 Duo T9400||2.53GHz||1066MHz||6MB||35W||$316|
|Core 2 Duo P9500||2.53GHz||1066MHz||6MB||25W||$348|
|Core 2 Duo P8600||2.40GHz||1066MHz||3MB||25W||$241|
|Core 2 Duo P8400||2.26GHz||1066MHz||3MB||25W||$209|
These processors introduce 1066MHz front-side bus speeds and cache sizes of up to 6MB, compared to 800MHz and 4MB for older 45nm models. As Intel points out, half the chips in the new lineup have 25W thermal envelopes.
Centrino 2 also brings the GM45 and PM45 Express chipsets. Both models support two channels of DDR3 and DDR2 memory, and the GM45 has GMA 4500MDH graphics that purportedly triple 3D graphics performance over the previous generation. The GMA 4500MDH IGP accelerates MPEG2 and Windows Media Video 9 video in hardware, and it throws in new software features to enable what Intel calls "smoother stutter-free high def video playback, sharper image quality, customizable color controls, & fewer motion artifacts." Last but not least, the GMA 4500MDH supports HDMI video outputs and does the necessary DRM voodoo to make Blu-ray playback possible.
For users who purchase Centrino 2 laptops with discrete graphics processor, Intel offers an optional "switchable graphics" feature that lets you switch between integrated and discrete GPUs to save battery life. AMD offers something similar in its Puma notebook platform.
On the networking side of things, Centrino 2 includes WiFi Link 5300-series Wi-Fi adapters capable of hitting 450Mbps (56.25MB/s) speeds over 802.11n. These adapters support Intel Active Management Technology v4.0, enabling manageability features for enterprise users.
Intel says we can expect almost 250 "innovative consumer and business notebook PC designs" based on Centrino 2 technology. To name a few, the company displays photos of Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, HP Compaq, Lenovo, NEC, Sony, and Toshiba systems on its website.