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Intel Launches the Centrino(tm) Wi-Fi CPU
Posted: 12-Mar-2003 [Source: Intel]

[The Centrino(tm) chip from Intel pulls 802.11 capabilities inside the CPU chip to bring pervasive wireless capability to mobile computing.]

Santa Clara, Calif. -- Intel Corporation today introduced Intel(r) Centrino(tm) mobile technology, integrating wireless capability into a new generation of mobile PCs that will bring business users and consumers greater freedom to connect in new places and in new ways.

Representing Intel's best technology for mobile PCs, Intel Centrino mobile technology includes a new mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 wireless network functions that have been optimized, tested and validated to work together. In addition to wireless communications, Intel Centrino mobile technology includes features designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs, and outstanding mobile performance.

"Unwiring the PC will change the way people use computers, allowing them to communicate, be productive or be entertained wherever and whenever they want," said Craig Barrett, Intel's chief executive officer. "Our focus on integrating all the elements of mobility allows Intel Centrino mobile technology to deliver an outstanding wireless computing experience and marks the first time we've put a combination of technologies under a single brand. This breakthrough innovation, together with industry-wide investment and Wi-Fi hotspot deployments, brings new computing and communications capabilities to businesses and consumers, adding value to mobile PCs."

Intel Centrino mobile technology-based notebook PCs are available immediately from leading computer makers worldwide. System pricing will start as low as $1,399, comparable to today's mainstream notebooks. Computer shoppers can identify these notebooks by a Centrino brand logo featuring a striking magenta color and the Intel Inside(r) mark.

Accelerating "Hotspot" Deployment Worldwide Hotspots -- locations where users can connect using 802.11 wireless technology -- are on the rise, enabling users to be more mobile than ever. According to industry analyst firm IDC, there will be more than 118,000 hotspots worldwide by 2005.

Using truly mobile notebook computers can change the way people live. With notebooks based on Intel Centrino mobile technology, a business traveler can check office email or read the hometown newspaper online while waiting for a flight at the airport, and still have battery life left to watch a DVD movie on the plane ride home. A real estate agent can check the latest listings wirelessly while dining with prospective home-buyers. A financial planner can check the market and activate client orders while at a seminar without compromising on the performance necessary to run the most demanding office applications. Students can register for next semester's classes or seek a part-time job from the college library, all on a sleek, light-weight system that won't drag them down.

As part of the introduction of Intel Centrino mobile technology, Intel has been working with leading wireless network service providers, hotels, airports, retail and restaurant chains worldwide to accelerate deployment and increase awareness of wireless public hotspots. In addition to marketing and promotional activities, Intel developed the Wireless Verification Program which includes engineering and testing of Intel Centrino mobile technology with various access point devices, software combinations, hotspot locations and wireless service providers to verify they are compatible, further enhancing the end user's wireless experience. Intel's efforts worldwide have already resulted in thousands of verified hotspots. The company expects to verify more than 10,000 by the end of the year.

Intel has also created a standardized worldwide Wireless Identifier Program that includes signs to help users identify where they can connect wirelessly. The program informs users that a particular service provider's network has been verified with Intel Centrino mobile technology. In addition, the company last year created a $150 million fund to invest in companies that are helping to expand and accelerate the infrastructure and capabilities required to make wireless computing ubiquitous.

The Technology Inside

The technology represented by the Intel Centrino mobile technology brand combines the Intel(r) Pentium(r) M processor, the Intel(r) 855 Chipset Family and the Intel(r) PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection. All components were optimized, validated and tested to work together with mobility in mind.

The processor is based on a new mobile-optimized microarchitecture that delivers higher performance and lower power consumption to enable longer battery life in today's mainstream systems. Key features include: Micro-Ops Fusion, which combines two micro-operations into one, enabling it to execute faster and at lower power; Advanced Branch Prediction -- a new implementation technique -- to help to reduce overall latency in the system contributing to higher performance at lower power; and the Dedicated Stack Manager, which reduces the overall number of micro-operations required to generate higher performance at lower power.

The processor is manufactured using Intel's industry-leading 0.13-micron process technology and consists of 77 million transistors. It also includes a 400 MHz power optimized system bus, a 1 MB low-power L2 cache (which turns off parts of the high-speed memory when it's not needed), and technology to reduce overall platform power consumption. It also provides support for Enhanced Intel(r) SpeedStep(r) technology with multiple voltage and frequency operating points, and Streaming SIMD Extensions II.

The Intel 855 chipset family includes two new chipsets developed exclusively for the mobile market segment, the 855PM supporting discrete graphics and 855GM with integrated Intel(r) Extreme Graphics 2 technology. The new chipsets also support Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology, Deeper Sleep Alert State and an internal timer that automatically turns off the chipset clock when the chipset is inactive. The 855GM chipset also includes a low-power graphics power management mode. Both chipsets include a 400MHz processor system bus and support for up to 2GB of DDR 266 memory, along with support for USB 2.0 and Intel's I/O Hub Architecture.

The Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection has been designed and validated to connect easily to 802.11b Wi-Fi certified access points. It also supports advanced wireless LAN security including 802.1x, WEP and VPN technologies, and will be software upgradeable to support WPA. In addition, through strategic collaboration with Cisco Systems, Intel Centrino mobile technology will support Cisco LEAP and will be software upgradeable to Cisco Compatible Extensions.

The Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 network connection has also been verified with leading VPN (virtual private network) suppliers. The wireless card is also available with Intel(r) PROSet Software, which offers many ease-of-use and low power features. It also supports an Intel developed technology that reduces interference with 802.11 signals and certain Bluetooth(tm) devices.

Measuring Mobile Performance And Battery Life

As measured by MobileMark(tm) 2002, the industry's first benchmark testing a combination of battery life and performance, Intel Centrino mobile technology-based systems can deliver up to five hours of battery life or more,* compared to about four hours on mobile Intel(r) Pentium(r) III processor-M-based system and about 3 hours on mobile Intel(r) Pentium(r) 4 processor-M-based systems. On the same benchmark, Intel Centrino mobile technology offers 41 percent faster performance on multitasking office productivity applications compared to a mobile Intel Pentium III processor-M 1.2 GHz, and a 15 percent improvement compared to the mobile Intel Pentium 4 processor-M 2.4 GHz system.

In addition, users of Intel Centrino mobile technology based-systems will find 59 percent better performance in their Internet experience as measured by the WebMark* benchmark when compared to the mobile Intel PentiumIII processor-M 1.2GHz and a 13 percent improvement gain when compared to the mobile Intel Pentium 4 processor-M 2.4GHz.

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