Intel Centrino 2 chips coming in two waves

Intel will roll out new mobile processors in June and September, including the first quad-core mobile processor.

Intel will roll out its first wave of mainstream 45-nanometer "Montevina" Centrino 2 mobile processors by June then follow this up in September with additional chips including the first quad-core mobile processor.

HP's HDX gaming laptop would be a candidate for the mobile quad-core chip
HP's HDX gaming laptop would be a candidate for the mobile quad-core chip HP, Intel

Montevina--which Intel recently branded Centrino 2--will offer the option of integrated Wi-Fi and WiMax wireless technologies. The platform will also have a new Cantiga chipset with better integrated graphics, among other features.

Though some Montevina processor specifics are out there already, scheduling and other details have now been confirmed by sources close to Intel. In short, schedules posted on the site Vr-Zone, among other sites, are currently the most accurate, according to sources. (Note: Intel's plans can change depending on market- and technology-related factors.)

It is also now clear that the first quad-core mobile processor, the Core 2 Extreme QX9300, will likely launch in September at a clock speed of 2.53GHz and be priced at just over $1,000. This chip will also boast a massive 12MB cache and have a Thermal Design Power (TDP or thermal envelope) of 45 watts, rivaling desktop quad-core processors.

"The notebook market has taken on a lot of the characteristics of the desktop market," said Dean McCarron, founder and Principal of Mercury Research. So it's important to have a quad-core offering in the mobile space now, he said. The processor will likely appear in "transportables." Large, luggable laptops that are used by gamers.

The first wave of Centrino 2 chips, due by June, will be mainstream models, including the T9600 and P8600, running at 2.8GHz and 2.4GHz respectively. A high-end upgrade to the current Core 2 Extreme X9000, the X9100, is also expected. This is expected to run at 3.06MHz with a 44W thermal envelope. Pricing will range from $209 for the P8400 (2.26GHz) to $530 for the T9600 to $851 for the X9100.

The 8000 series will have a 3MB cache, while the 9000, 6MB.

The September installment of processors will be centered on low-power models such as the SL9400 and SU9400, running at 1.86GHz and 1.4GHz with a TDP of 17W and 10W respectively. One processor, the SU3300, will have a TDP of 5.5W. This is a class of processors that will appear in ultra-light, ultra-thin notebooks such as Apple's MacBook Air and Lenovo's ThinkPad X300.

Some of the low-power processors will have chip packaging similar to the Core 2 Duo chip used in the MacBook Air but offer even lower thermal envelopes. The MacBook Air processor tops out at 1.8GHz with a TDP of 20 watts.

Low-power Celeron dual-core processors will also make a debut.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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