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Notes from the Intel Centrino 2 launch

updated 02:50 pm EDT, Tue July 15, 2008

Intel Centrino 2 launch

Monday night's launch of the new Intel Centrino 2 notebook platform, unveiling of the 45nm, 3.06GHz Core 2 Extreme mobile processor and announcement of 14 total forthcoming chips was covered last night, but there is room to expand on Intel's presentation. The company stressed its new focus, showing that laptop computers are increasingly outselling desktops.

Attendees at the event could test out the new platforms by using various programs or games Intel set up to show off their platform's new abilities. A demonstration of the HD video streaming abilities was made via the new Intel Wi-Fi Link 5000-series that provides 802.11 draft-N wireless that is good for speeds up to 450Mbps. Intel used Monsoon Multimedia Hava Wireless HD media streaming hubs to demonstrate multicasting live HDTV on selected Centrino 2-powered notebooks. The WiMAX / WiFi Link 5350 that made it possible will launch in the second half of the year in Centrino 2 notebooks and will be the world's first to offer the combo with MIMO. Users would also be able to download HD content from the likes of NBC Direct, and a booth was dedicated to demonstrate the process.

Sprint Xohm president Barry West was on-hand to announce the launch of his WiMAX network in Baltimore, MD this September, and the new Intel chip will allow the technology to be used, with certain notebooks, including Acer's, thus equipped and launching today. The 4G, IP-based broadband wireless technology promises to offer higher speeds and stronger signal (allowing access while on the move) than typical Wi-Fi networks.

Three of the new Core 2 Duo chips, at 2.26GHz, 2.4GHz, and 2.53GHz, will consume just 25W of power, and further reduce battery use thanks to Deep Power Down Technology that turns off core clocks and cache memory when the laptop is idle. Another power-saving feature involves switchable graphics between integrated and discrete options, allowing users to choose between above average 3D performance or power savings, as needed.

The Core 2 Extreme Processor, the X9100, will not be one of the low-power chips, but it will be the power-house, allowing users to fine-tune it for optimum gaming performance. Intel also removed the chip's overclocking protection measures, and stresses it was designed with mobile-friendly thermal power in mind.

The new chipsets will also allow Blu-ray movie playback with native hardware acceleration for its video format, and a battery life that is promised to last the duration of a typical two-hour Blu-ray movie. The Intel 45 Express chipset will also allow full HW decoding of AVC/VC1/MPEG2 formats. The processors will have the power to encode and edit videos embedded in the new, high-definition AVCHD codec popular in digital HD camcorder, with Intel offering a hands-on demo thanks to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom at the presentation.

by MacNN Staff



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