Intel's Mobile Centrino To Go Dual-Core In First Quarter - InformationWeek

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8/24/2005
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Intel's Mobile Centrino To Go Dual-Core In First Quarter

New chips for notebook computers will consume less power, offer stronger security, and communicate better over wireless connections.

Dual-core processors are coming to Intel's mobile Centrino platform in the first quarter of 2006 with the launch of its Napa platform, the company announced at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

The market for notebook PCs has been booming, but there's still room for growth, said Sean Maloney, executive VP and general manager of Intel's mobility group. Intel hopes to help fuel that growth with the release of the Napa platform, followed in the second half by a "refresh" that will reduce the power needs of the Centrino brand even further.

Napa includes the Yonah processor, Intel's first dual-core Pentium M-based device; the Calistoga Mobile 945 Express chipset for enhanced graphics and video; and the PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network connection wireless LAN chipset.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. also plans to launch a lower-power, dual-core processor version of its Turion 64 mobile PC platform early next year.

The Yonah processor will feature an enhanced deeper-sleep mode. The idle state enables the processor to lower its voltage below the deeper-sleep state's minimum voltage during periods of inactivity without losing information held in on-chip memory. The lower-voltage sleep state is accomplished using a dynamic flush and evacuation of the level 2 cache when inactivity is detected.

The wireless LAN connection will feature an enhanced access point selection capability. The "more intelligent" capability will select potential wireless links based on a variety of quality parameters, not just signal strength. For example, in some cases greater bandwidth might be a more desired state than signal strength.

Intel also announced agreements intended to improve the long-term performance and security of wireless computing.

Intel will work jointly with Matsushita Battery Industrial to jointly develop improved battery technology that will provide a 30% gain over existing batteries, and support Intel's vision to achieve a battery with an eight-hour life span by 2008.

In addition, Intel and Cisco Systems announced an expansion of their existing alliance, and will collaborate to improve wireless security features for businesses, Maloney said.

The two companies have produced a new set of features called the Business Class Wireless Suite, which is designed for companies using Cisco's Unified Wireless Architecture and Centrino technology. The wireless suite includes an enhanced voice-over-IP quality-of-service technology to improve clarity and enable reliable voice communications for laptops.

Intel also will join the Network Admission Control program, an industry effort led by Cisco to help customers identify, prevent, and adapt to security threats. Cisco will join the Intel Active Management Technology program to help design and improve abilities to guard against security threats. Customers can expect the Cisco's network admission program and Intel's active management program to be compatible in the fourth quarter of this year.

According to a June IDC forecast, about 60 million mobile PCs will ship worldwide this year, up from a projection of 56 million made in September 2004. IDC believes 70 million mobile PCs will ship in 2006, and about 110 million by 2009.

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