Mobile Platform and Final Thoughts
Intel didn’t have a lot of changes to talk about on their mobile platform, the next version of Centrino that has permeated into every notebook segment in the industry.
For 2007, the Santa Rosa platform will be released using the same Merom-based processor using the current Core Architecture. What will change is just about everything else. A new chipset for improved integrated graphics should help with gaming as well as video playback issues that have plagued the latest iteration. The wireless networking features should see a bump in speed to 802.11n technology, though they haven’t committed to it because the jury is still out on 802.11n standards. Robson technology adds flash memory to the system in order to improve various aspects of performance and support for WWAN and WiMax will be available optionally.
Intel is very confident in their technology leadership in the mobile market, as seen in this competition table. In fact, Intel doesn’t see any competition to the Core 2 Duo mobile processors from AMD at all. Instead, they estimate that the top AMD Turion TL-60 processor is matched just below the T2400 Core processor. It is definitely a strong statement from the company but of course we won’t be just taking Intel’s word at this! See our mobile testing section of PC Perspective for more information.
Another one of the great new features you’ll see on upcoming Santa Rosa platform, though as an option and not a standard feature is Robson technology. Robson is the name for Intel’s usage of NAND memory as a supplemental storage location between the system memory that is very fast and the hard disks of today that are very slow. By partnering with Microsoft’s upcoming technology in Vista OS, Intel is showing off 2x lower application load times and 2x faster resumes from hibernation states. The idea is simple to understand: its basically another, large cache level beyond the L2/L3 that are actually on processors. Intel keeps data that it THINKS the user will need frequently there in an attempt to access the hard drive as little as possible.
I am planning on a more in-depth look at Robson technology in an upcoming article, so look for that in the coming week.
During the mobile press conference, Mooly Eden revealed another confirmation of the two-step development cycle that Intel is going to be taking through 2010. Here you can see that the 45nm shrink of the current Core 2 technology is dubbed Penryn. The new architecture Nehalem will come after it on 45nm process technology before getting a shrink to 32nm as the Westmere core. Finally, the following year will see another new core architecture known as Gesher made with 32nm technology.
This fall’s 2006 IDF didn’t bring about the exciting changes that we say during the spring show in which Core 2 was introduced. Even without a dramatic shift in technology though, Intel was able to put on a great show with information we hadn’t seen before. The new quad core processor, terascale processor research and even the Robson technology are not only incredibly interesting to read and learn about, but are vital to understanding the future of PC technology.
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