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Closer Look at Test Platform: ASUS F3Ja Notebook

The close relationship between Yonah and Merom processors shows in the fact that both of them are part of the Centrino Duo mobile platform with the Napa codename. This platform was announced together with the Core Duo processors and hence is pretty mature already. We have reviewed this platform in great detail in our article called Centrino Duo Mobile Platform Review. Here I would only like to remind you that besides the dual-core mobile processors this platform also includes Intel 945PM/GM chipsets and Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network adapter.

Note that it is a temporary thing that they use the same Centrino Duo platform for both, Yonah and Merom processors. Next April Intel is going to refresh its mobile platform with a new solution called Santa Rosa.

Although the CPU in this platform will remain the same, it will be designed for the new socket type. The chipset and the communications unit will also be different. Santa Rosa will include Core 2 Duo processors with 800MHz bus for Socket P, Crestline chipset (mobile analogue of the desktop Intel 965 solution) and Kedron communications unit. Among the advantages of the new promising platform will be much better integrated graphics optimized for Microsoft Windows Vista operating system, support of 802.11n WiFi with much higher data throughput rate, and Intel NAND Technology (Robson) that provides a built-in flash-memory cache speeding up OS and applications loading.

However, this is going to be tomorrow. Today, Core Duo and Core 2 Duo can be used in the same platforms, they are pin-to-pin compatible. In other words, all contemporary notebooks based on Centrino Duo platform can be equipped with either Yonah or Merom processors.

This particular fact helped us a lot when we picked out the hardware for our today’s test session. We tested two absolutely identical mobile platforms that differed from one another only by the CPU. These platforms were two notebooks from ASUS F3Ja family that can be equipped with different dual-core processors.

ASUS F3Ja notebook is a multimedia two-spindle solution with a 15.4-inch widescreen display with a standard resolution of 1280x800. The distinguishing feature of this notebook family is that they use external PCI Express graphics cards alongside with the mobile Napa platform.

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