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What is the difference between Intel's Centrino and Core Duo?

What is the difference between Intel's Centrino and Core Duo?

I'm a little confused by all this talk of Centrino, Centrino Duo, Core Duo and goodness knows what else. Please could you explain it all to me and rescue me from this tech quagmire!


Hi Greg,

It may seem difficult to comprehend but it really is quite simple. 'Centrino' is a marketing term for a type of laptop that promotes wireless network interoperability and long battery life, while 'Core' refers to the processor itself. To earn a Centrino badge, laptops must utilise a specific type of motherboard chipset, a specific type of wireless network card and a processor from the Intel Core range.

Three types of Core processor are commonly used in Centrino laptops: Core Solo, Core Duo and Core 2 Duo. Core Solo CPUs represent the bottom rung -- they come in several guises but each variant is optimised for long battery life rather than raw speed. Laptops using Core Solo CPUs fall under the Centrino brand.

Centrino Duo-branded laptops use Core Duo processors. These are the dual-core alternatives to Core Solo. They typically have higher clock speeds, but more importantly, two cores (essentially twin brains) to share the workload.

Newer Centrino Duo laptops will utilise the Core 2 Duo series of processors. These chips have twice as much Level 2 cache memory for better performance, have optional high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi access, plus Intel 64 technology, which lets you take advantage of 64-bit operating systems.

You may also spot laptops branded Centrino Pro. These are reserved for business laptops that contain Intel vPro -- a technology that allows IT managers to control, manage and protect laptops whether they're on, off, broken or fully operational.