Let’s sum up our results. At first glance, the Israeli Intel developer team deserves all the laurels for what they’ve created. Thanks to them, Intel managed to roll out dual-core mobile processing into the market I the right time and even ahead of the competitor. Since the number of applications that can benefit from dual-core processor architecture keeps growing, we cannot underestimate the importance of Centrino Duo platform. The new dual-core Core Duo processor used in this platform can increase the performance of contemporary mobile computers quite tangibly. Besides, it can also improve the user experience thanks to shorter system response time when switching between different tasks.
It is important to stress that the performance improvement isn’t accompanied by such unpleasant factors as the growth of CPU heat dissipation and power consumption. The battery life of Centrino Duo based notebooks is usually as long as that of their predecessors based on the Pentium M CPUs. Intel engineers managed to achieve this thanks to timely introduction of finer 64nm manufacturing process as well as thanks to a new set of power saving technologies and algorithms.
It is especially pleasing that the progress in the mobile segment didn’t cause any growth of the notebook prices. Intel Core Duo processors and Centrino Duo platform are currently selling at the same price rate as the previous generation CPUs and platforms did.
However, there is still one frustrating factor that spoils a little bit this rosy picture. Unfortunately, Intel Core Duo processors have very limited life cycle (and as a result popularity cycle). In the coming fall they will no longer be the latest and greatest mobile processors any more. New dual-core mobiles solutions that are currently known as Merom will be coming out by then. And this fast generations switch has its reasons. The thing is that today’s Core Duo processors have one serious drawback: they do not support 64-bit EM64T extensions. Therefore, when the new Microsoft Vista operating system comes out next year, all today’s advantages of Core Duo can fade away. Although Vista will support 32-bit as well as 64-bit processors, its will be optimized for more advanced CPUs, of course. So, Core Duo processor owners may be quite disappointed in the long run.
Summing up everything we have just said, we can conclude the following. If you need a new notebook, then you have to take a look at the new Centrino Duo platform. It is a good choice as of today, although it is not going to be a good long-term choice. However, if you already have a previous generation Centrino notebook, it doesn’t make much sense for you to upgrade to a new Centrino Duo today. It would be best to wait until fall and get a notebook with the dual-core processor supporting 64-bit extensions of the x86 architecture.
Moreover, we expect dual-core 64-bit AMD processors for the mobile segment to come out in the middle of this year, and they have every reason to turn into a very attractive alternative to Intel’s processors. So, your patient waiting will definitely be rewarded one way or another.