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Beside everything else, the beginning of this year was marked with yet another breakthrough in the mobile computing market. In January 2006 Intel announced a new hardware platform for notebooks and christened it Centrino Duo (it had been previously known under the codename of Napa). The most exciting thing about the new platform is that it includes a dual-core mobile processor Core Duo (Yonah) which is the first such solution to come to the mobile market.

The multiple-core tendency in modern CPU development at last found its way into notebooks. This is not something unexpected, though. According to Intel’s plans, and this company is not only a trend-setter in this field but also the leader in terms of sales volumes, dual-core processors will be installed in about 70% of all shipped notebooks by the end of this year.

It should be noted that Intel has managed to outpace AMD and release its dual-core mobile processor before the competitor (AMD’s dual-core Turion 64 X2 is expected to be announced only in June). It is rather unusual since Intel hasn’t been the first to introduce new architectures or technologies in server or desktop processors for the last couple of years. But it is a fact that Intel’s engineers successfully developed and put into production a new dual-core mobile processor based on the existing Pentium M architecture and they have done so ahead of the competitor who’s going to adapt its ordinary dual-core Athlon X2 for use in notebooks.

We’ve already had many opportunities to see the advantages of dual-core processors over single-core models. Today most software is optimized for multi-threaded environments, so processors with two physical cores can lift the performance of the computer quite high. Moreover, dual-core processors can improve the user’s experience even with non-optimized software because the OS takes less time to switch between applications or several resource-consuming applications may be running very effectively in parallel.

In this review we are going to have a closer look at the new Centrino Duo platform and examine each of its components: the dual-core processor, updated chipset, and improved wireless network adapter.

The goal of this article is to show you the advantages that users of mobile computers on the new hardware platform from Intel may expect to have. So besides a purely theoretical part, we’ll also offer you the results of a comparative test of real-life products on the older Centrino and on the new Centrino Duo platform.

 
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