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The First Pentium-M Notebook Put To The Test

Centrino Mobile Technology: More Than Just A New Mobile Processor

If you think that the Centrino is merely a new processor for notebooks, then Intel's marketing squad is going to tell you a thing or two. Because lying beneath the Centrino, including the Centrino Mobile Technology, is a combination of the new mobile processor Pentium-M (codenamed "Banias"), the new Intel 855 chipset family ("Odem," "Montara-GM"), and a WLAN adapter in mini-PCI format called Calexico, which is based on the 802.11b/a standard. Only notebooks with this whole package have Intel's approval to carry the name 'Centrino Notebook.' As soon as one of the above is missing, it ain't Centrino no more.

Intel's approach might have something to it, as it promises a platform solution in one single unit so that, theoretically of course, the individual components work together flawlessly. Another aspect is that, in case of 'Centrino,' all the power saving technologies of the different components can be used optimally. The new mobile processor Pentium-M has been designed to be significantly less wasteful with battery power and yet more powerful than its ancestors, the Pentium III-M and Pentium 4-M. Together, these factors have a positive effect on the battery life of the notebooks. At the same time, increased processor performance at lower thermal power dissipation also allows for notebooks in smaller form factors.

Naturally, this is only one side of the coin. Of course, with its strategy, Intel wants to gain a foothold on expanding markets such as the WLAN sector. It wasn't for nothing that they made a decision last year to invest US$150 million in companies that were involved with WLAN technology, in order to ensure a fast expansion of WLAN infrastructures.

In the next section, we'll take a look at what other market segments will enjoy this new mobile technology in the coming months, with respect to the Pentium-M.

Who's Replacing Whom: Pentium-M Vs. Pentium-4-M Or Pentium-III-M?

With Pentium-M, things are a bit different than they used to be. So far, every new Intel flagship processor would automatically replace the old flagship CPU, particularly because it offered more performance. Pentium replaced 486, Pentium II replaced Pentium, Pentium 4 replaced Pentium III, and so on. Intel wants Pentium-M to be the "numero uno" in the mobile market as well, but this time, we don't have the simple situation that we're used to anymore.

Pentium-M is not absolutely necessarily faster than Pentium 4-M, it's different, or, in Intel's words, it's just 'better.' Because of this, somewhat peculiar, situation, we are well entitled to wonder, which stable mate will step aside in the mid-term and make way for Pentium-M? It would be a bit premature to make a general statement about this at the moment. Instead, it would make more sense to look into Intel's crystal ball to see what it says about the changes in the business and conumer notebooks segments.