Intel Corporation today officially launched its Centrino mobile platform, the first ever platform designed for using in mobile personal computers. Intel Centrino mobile technology includes a Pentium M mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 wireless network functions that have been optimized, tested and validated to work together. In addition to wireless communications, Intel Centrino mobile technology includes features designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs.
The key-element of the Centrino platform is the Pentium M processor based on a new mobile-optimized microarchitecture that delivers higher performance and lower power consumption to enable longer battery life in today's mainstream systems. The CPU is manufactured using Intel's 0.13 micron process technology and consists of 77 million transistors. It also includes a 400MHz power optimized Quad Pumped Bus, 1MB L2 cache which turns off parts of the high-speed memory when it is not needed (as you see from the picture below, L2 cache occupies nearly a half of the core size), and technology to reduce overall platform power consumption. It also provides support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology with multiple voltage and frequency operating points, and Streaming SIMD Extensions II.
There are a number of proprietary features found in the Pentium M processor. At IDF Fall 2002 we managed to get familiar with the following:
- Advanced Branch Prediction analyses the patterns used by an application in the past and predicts the operations that can be executed by this application in future.
- When the system is ready to perform a number of operations at the same time, Micro-Op Fusion technology combines those into one in order to utilise the CPU pipeline more efficiently, boosting the speed and lowering the power-consumption.
- In contrast to most of the systems that continue to power even unused components, Power Optimised Processor Bus lowers power-consumption of the platform by automatically bringing down the voltage and optimising the buffers’ execution.
- Dedicated Stack Manager technology offers some hardware means that track the loaded system resources and available registers. Effective management leads to greater efficiency of CPU utilisation, gaining the speed and lowering the power-consumption.
The Intel 855 chipset family includes two new chipsets developed exclusively for the mobile market segment, the 855PM supporting discrete graphics and 855GM with integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 technology. The new chipsets also support Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology,
The Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection has been designed and validated to connect easily to 802.11b Wi-Fi certified access points. It also supports advanced wireless LAN security including 802.1x, WEP and VPN technologies, and will be software upgradeable to support WPA. In addition, through strategic collaboration with Cisco Systems, Intel Centrino mobile technology will support Cisco LEAP and will be software upgradeable to Cisco Compatible Extensions.
Intel Centrino mobile technology-based systems can deliver hours more battery life and 15 to 41% performance improvement over the notebooks powered by the previous-generations of Intel’s mobile platforms.
Intel Centrino mobile platform pricing includes the Intel 855PM core-logic, Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 network connection, and the Intel Pentium M Processor at speeds of 1.60, 1.50, 1.40, 1.30GHz priced at $720, $506, $377, $292 respectively in 1000 unit quantities. Intel Centrino mobile technology also is available in a low voltage processor at 1.10GHz and an ultra-low-voltage processor at 900MHz priced at $345, and $324 respectively. These prices represent the cost of each component (processor, chipset, WLAN) that together make up Intel's Centrino mobile technology. Intel also sells each device separately.
Intel Centrino mobile technology-based notebook PCs are available immediately from leading computer makers worldwide. System pricing will start as low as $1 399, comparable to today's mainstream notebooks, according to Intel. Consumers can identify these notebooks by a Centrino brand logotype.