Intel Montevina

But Montevina isn't just bringing performance improvements, with the reduced package size of the 45nm processor, notebook motherboards can be reduced in size. This means that notebooks can also be made smaller and thinner. In fact Dadi indicated that the Montevina motherboard would be 60 per cent smaller than the current Santa Rosa board, while the new platform can also allow for notebooks that are 25 per cent slimmer.

Right from its inception, Centrino has driven battery life up, and each refresh and evolution of the standard has seen battery life improve. Penryn should improve battery life even further, with smarter in-built power management, that can almost completely power down the chip at idle. Penryn's Deep Power Down state can completely switch off the cache, while leaving only minimal power in the core. This will hopefully allow you to leave your laptop in standby or hibernate mode all day, without opening it up to find the battery dead.

Dadi indicated that the power management will improve significantly when Nehalem makes its mobile debut, but didn't go into too much detail, saying that he didn't want to take the focus away from Montevina and Penryn.

The other major advancement in Montevina is Echo Peak, which is Intel's new wireless module. Whereas Centrino has offered integrated Wi-Fi since the first generation, Echo Peak provides both Wi-Fi and WiMAX. Intel sees WiMAX as the future of mobile broadband, but understands that getting a new standard off the ground takes a lot of hard work.

Embedding a mobile WiMAX module into a notebook is only part of the story, you also need service providers to implement the network, hardware manufacturers to adopt it and end users to accept it. Intel also showed an impressive list of partners who are all backing WiMAX.

The most impressive thing about Echo Peak is that it comes in the exact same form factor as Intel's current Wi-Fi cards - Minicard and Half Minicard. But what surprised me was that Dadi revealed that Echo Peak, with WiMAX will not draw any more power than current Wi-Fi adapters.

Montevina notebooks should start to ship in 2008. Despite the fact that yesterday, during Paul Otellini's speech, the Montevina hardware was shown as a test rig, today Dadi showed off an actual notebook, complete with Penryn and Echo Peak. I'll be trying to get my paws on early Montevina hardware as soon as possible, so watch this space for the full rundown on Intel's new mobile platform.

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