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Lenovo's X300 and Apple's MacBook Air may get some heavy hitting competition from Intel's ultra-low power processors

Intel's new Centrino 2 branding will launch with the "Montevina" platform
New branding, 5.5 Watt 1.2 GHz processors, DisplayPort, two-fold increases in graphics power await notebook enthusiasts this June

You could set your clock to Intel's mobile platform roadmap.  For the last three years, the company announced its new processor lineup in January, followed by a chipset and processor refresh in June.  June is always a critical month for notebook manufacturers, as the impending school semester spurs the largest volume orders on the year.

This year Intel announced its first generation 45 nanometer desktop, mobile and server processors.  New roadmaps issued to notebook partners claim the company will replace its Santa Rosa Centrino platform with the Montevina Centrino 2 platform this June. 

The June refresh includes new Penryn-based processors boasting a 1066MHz front-side bus and new motherboard core logic. Together, the chips will form the Montevina Centrino 2 and Centrino 2 vPro platforms.

On the processor front, Intel will launch a slew of dual core processors covering a wide range of market segments.

Penryn Core 2 Duo (Performance)
Model
Core
Frequency
TDP
FSB
(MHz)
L2 Cache Launch
Price
T9600
2.80 GHz 35W 1066
6MB $530
T9400
2.53 GHz 35W 1066
6MB $316
P9500
2.53 GHz 25W 1066
6MB $348
P8600 2.40 GHz 25W 1066
3MB $241
P8400
2.26 GHz
25W 1066
3MB $209

The Txxx processors are labeled as "Performance" parts and feature a TDP of 35W. The Pxxx parts are labeled "Power Optimized Performance" and feature a lower TDP of 25W. The P9500 strikes a fine balance between the two market segments by retaining a 2.53GHz core clock and 6MB of L2 cache while still managing a TDP of 25W.

Penryn Core 2 (Small Form Factor)
Model
Core
Frequency
TDP
FSB
(MHz)
L2 Cache Launch
Price
SP9400 2.4 GHz 25W 1066
6MB
$316
SP9300
2.26 GHz 25W 1066
6MB $284
SL9400 1.86 GHz 17W 1066
6MB $316
SL9300
1.60 GHz 17W 1066
6MB $284
SU9400 1.40 GHz 10W 800
3MB $289
SU9300 1.20 GHz 10W 800
3MB $262
U3300
1.20 GHz
5.5W 800
3MB $262

The processors above are lumped into Intel's "Performance Small Form Factor" segment and feature a TDP of 25W at the high end for the SP9400 and continually fall until we reach rock bottom with the single-core U3300 which touts a TDP of 5.5W.

An Intel engineer hinted to DailyTech that the U3300 will be reserved for the "slimmest of slim" notebooks and tablets.  By comparison, the 1.6 and 1.8 GHz processor found in the MacBook Air has a rating of 20W TDP.  The same Intel engineer, speaking on conditions of anonymity, detailed that all of these small form factor processors will find their way into Apple and PC mobile products -- as indicated by other Intel representatives in previous interviews

On the chipset front, Intel will launch three SKUs during the second quarter: the GM45, GM47 and PM45. The GM45/47 will feature Intel's new X4500 HD integrated graphics processor which promises DX10 support, increased battery life, integrated HDMI and DisplayPort.

The GM45/47 support 667MHz and 1066MHz FSBs, DDR2/DDR3 memory, and the ICH9M/ICH9M-Enhanced south bridges. The two parts only differ in the clock speed for the graphics core -- the GM45 features a 533 MHz core clock while the GM47 has a faster 640 MHz core clock. 

Intel marketing materials claim GM47 performs twice as high on 3DMark as GM965 found in the current Santa Rosa chipsets.

The PM45 supports all the features of the two aforementioned chipsets minus the integrated graphics core. The PM45 thus will be used with integrated mobile graphics solutions from ATI and NVIDIA.

While the processors and new chipsets are important, we must also take a look at Intel's supporting cast of characters with the Centrino 2 platform. Centrino 2 notebooks will be available with 2GB of Turbo Memory -- Windows Vista ReadyDrive and ReadyBoost compliant.

Networking upgrades are plentiful for the Centrino 2 launch. Intel will launch the 82567LM and 82567LF Gigabit Ethernet controllers for LAN connectivity. Customers will also have a choice of two Shirley Peak-based WLAN controllers with the Intel WiFi Link 5100/5300. Finally, Intel will offer two WiMAX/WiFi controllers in the form of the Intel WiMAX/WiFi Link 5150/5350.

Apple yesterday launched revised MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks that incorporate Intel’s first run of Penryn processors. Apple insiders confirmed the company will refresh its notebook lineups in June, which comes as no surprise since all Centrino partners indicated they will announce notebooks based on the new Montevina Centrino 2.

Don't expect just the same old notebooks from January this June.  The upcoming second-generation Penryn mobile processors require the new Socket B motherboards.  However, since the thermal envelopes will not change between Penryn revisions vendors will be able to keep the existing form factors, like that found on the ultra-compact Lenovo X300, with minimal changes to the motherboard design.

Tick-tock.  Montevina will get an overhaul in June 2009.


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5.5 watts? Outstanding
By James Holden on 2/27/2008 3:33:22 AM , Rating: 2
Less than 6 watts for a 1.2 ghz processor? Yeah I'll take one please.

Does anyone know about how much power the rest of the system takes? My notebook already gets 5 hours on a battery if I don't tax it ...




RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By CubicleDilbert on 2/27/2008 5:15:07 AM , Rating: 3
Should be around 5-7 Watts with a conventional LCD.
I currently work on a Thinkpad T41p which takes around 12 Watts while surfing or typing in Word. The Centrino CPU would probably take 5 Watts in idle mode.
So I assume the new Penryn takes 5 Watt in full load and maybe 1 Watt in idle (i.e. Word) mode.
I assume the LED lighted Centrino 2 could have something like 5-7 Watt in total, typing in MS Office. Which would give around 10h on a typical 9 cell Thinkpad battery. That's a full day of work! I'd love that. Imagine a X300 with 10 hours, yeah...


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By InternetGeek on 2/27/2008 6:33:48 AM , Rating: 1
If it reaches 12hours, I can see myself running one of these using a solar cell to keep it charged and running 24hours a day. Might be slow, but I can see it encoding my entire DVD collection and as a file server.


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By davepermen on 2/27/2008 7:16:01 AM , Rating: 2
It's not slow at all. fast enough to watch 720p movies, to code, using music applications like traktor 3 for djing, etc..

it even performs quite well (compared to other systems) in realtime raytracing stuff (ompf.org).

what's great is, it has a quite high memory bandwidth per ghz.

i'd like to get one of these into my hp 2710p. that, and an ssd (the disk IS slow), would give quite some batterylife then, too (and higher performance thanks to the disk).

best would be, a quadcore built of two of these at 12W or so, possible to disable one of the dualcores in the bios for 'doubling' the batterylife when on the go.


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By adwama on 2/27/2008 9:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Well said my friend... I have seen this platform perform... and i saw the 3D mark test difference... That too via a DP connector with HDCP enabled...
It also features HDMI1.3 w/ Built in Audio functionality... If you get a chance, try playing FULL HD (1080P) video via HDMI with 8ch Dollby Digital HBR audio and check its CPU usage! Its awesome low...

I want to see the AMD's Spider now!


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By eye smite on 2/27/2008 11:28:01 AM , Rating: 4
I'm just glad to see intel taking the competition seriously for the last going on 2 years. Their lax attitude towards AMD cost them 3 yrs of not being top dog and from everything they're coming out with it's obvious they're not going to let that happen again. It's really good to see so many advancements come from competition like this. OMG, I just paid intel a compliment, the mattress tag police will be coming for me now. :-)


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By BMFPitt on 2/27/2008 12:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
While they had totally slacked off for a long while on desktop processors, they always had a superior mobile product.

Those 25W parts look like a nice sweet spot. And hopefully will allow you to actually keep them on your lap without burning it off.


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By dagamer34 on 2/27/2008 6:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
"Always had a superior mobile product?"

Have we already forgotten the Mobile Pentium 4? You could cook dinner on laptops build with that thing!

Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it!


RE: 5.5 watts? Outstanding
By Haltech on 2/27/2008 7:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
he probably meant performance but I'm not sure how AMD stepped up a few years ago.


By therealnickdanger on 2/27/2008 9:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it!

... And those that SELECT their history are just as bad. During the mobile-P4 era, Intel still offered the awesome mobile-P3 (Tualatin core), which became the even more impressive Pentium-M as part of the first Centrino platform. At no point did Intel pass the mobile crown to anyone else.


Integrated Graphics Performance
By Flunk on 2/27/2008 1:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
I might be a good idea to mention that the G965 chipset's 3D performance is absolutely terrible so even a chipset that really does double performance is still not great.

If you feel like seeing some benchmarks:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/...




RE: Integrated Graphics Performance
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 2/27/2008 6:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
Point taken. Supreme Commander is actually unplayable on my X61t :(


By Wesleyrpg on 2/27/2008 8:44:55 PM , Rating: 4
Twice nothing is still nothing!

2x0=0


Lookin good...
By Doormat on 2/27/2008 8:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like I'll be buying a new MB this summer when this stuff hits the market.

Though I'm surprised the speed bump is only 2.8Ghz. I guess I was expecting 3GHz.




RE: Lookin good...
By PlasmaBomb on 2/27/2008 9:55:34 AM , Rating: 2
3GHz will be the extreme processor


RE: Lookin good...
By themadmilkman on 2/27/2008 10:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
Any info about what kind of MB is needed for this? The article mentions Socket B, but I don't know anything about it.


Roadmap doesn't exactly make sense
By joey2264 on 2/27/2008 8:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
Why would anyone use the SU9300 if the U3300 is the same price and almost half the power consumption while the same performance? Similarly, why would anyone use the T9400, if the P9500 has the same performance, but is 30% more power efficient and $30 cheaper? Either those are two typos, or this is a very confusing price list.




By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/27/2008 9:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
The price figures are straight from Intel's roadmap. If there's an error, it's from Intel :-)

The U3300 is a single-core processor.


By 7Enigma on 2/28/2008 9:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
I thought exactly the same thing. As Brandon pointed out the single-core/dual-core low end does make sense but the T9400 and P9500 make absolutely no sense at all. I could understand it the other way around (more efficient but more expensive), but as priced and spec'd now, it boggles the mind!


erratum
By adwama on 2/27/2008 9:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The GM45/47 support 667MHz and 1066MHz FSBs, DDR2/DDR3 memory, and the ICH9M/ICH9M-Enhanced south bridges.


Did you mean that GM4* supports 1066MHz FSB and 667MHz DDR2/3??? confirm with your source again. The mem speeds of 800Mhz for DDR3 were also tested to be successful... If some bug caused it to be a non-feature... hmm... bummer! :)




RE: erratum
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/27/2008 9:52:14 AM , Rating: 3
All three chipsets have the following support:

FSB 1066/667
DDR2-800/667
DDR3-1066/800/667


Quad Core?
By theflux on 2/27/2008 11:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
Any word on when there will be an official mobile quad core chip released?




RE: Quad Core?
By secretanchitman on 2/27/2008 11:37:02 AM , Rating: 3
i have no clue...i bet they wont release one until next year cause its simply too hot and the dual cores are fast enough for most people.

although i love that june is going to laptop month..especially for us apple users! yesterdays update was lacklaster (imo of course).


Heck yeahs
By Polynikes on 2/27/2008 10:03:59 AM , Rating: 2
Seeing as how I may be forced to buy a laptop for the school I transfer to next semester, I'm glad to hear we'll have some 45nm lovin' available.




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