On the subject of graphics, both ATI and nVidia will have new PCI Express parts out and several of the new products that will be announced from the various laptop manufacturers today will incorporate these new chipsets. Some of them will be very close to desktop parts in terms of performance, although we will wait with our verdict until we have tested the new parts in retail laptops. Andy Greenhalgh could not tell us if Intel was supporting any of the PCI Express graphics card interfaces that nVidia (MXM) and ATI (Axiom) have developed – we’ll just have to wait and see which platform prevails.
Other new features include support for Serial ATA – this is the first mobile chipset with native SATA support. However, it’s been very quiet in the hard drive camp, so until a manufacturer officially announces 2.5in SATA hard drives, this feature will lay dormant. On the business models Intel has updated its PROSet/Wireless software, which adds some extra security features to the wireless chipset, while it’s also been tailored to work with Cisco equipment. The wireless cards will remain the same as the current models, so laptop manufacturers can choose between the 802.11b/g and the 802.11a/b/g cards.
One would presume that all this new, fast technology would put an extra strain on the battery life, but Intel claims that the battery life should be about the same as the previous generation of Centrino products. Intel is working hard on improving battery life and the goal is a laptop that can last a working day (eight hours), on a single charge. But this is still a couple of years away according to Andy Greenhalgh.
The final piece to the puzzle is ExpressCard – this is the replacement for the good old PC Card, which has been with us for a very long time. ExpressCards will be similar to current PC Cards, although the interface will be slightly different and the cards will come in two form factors.
Overall it looks like it will be an exciting year in the laptop market with Intel quoting an amazing 80 new laptops based on the new Centrino solution at launch. While the company is expecting another 150 models to follow before the summer. Just about every notebook manufacturer is backing the latest Centrino solution and we should see products from Rock, Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba very shortly if they are not already available.
For more information please visit Intel