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A New Deal For Notebooks

On Wednesday, Intel rolled out two new families of laptop components--integrated bundles of processors and other core system modules--designed to boost battery life and performance.

This set of components, called "Santa Rosa" in development, now goes by the names Centrino Duo, intended for personal-use machines, and Centrino Pro, aimed at business users.

Both feature the same basic ingredients--faster, longer-range 802.11n wireless networking, an extra cache of flash memory to speed bootup times and application performance, smarter power management and souped-up graphics processors that should provide better support for Windows Vista's Aero interface. Centrino Pro adds some security and system-management options.

Laptops integrating these components are now shipping from the usual suspects, such as HP, Dell and Lenovo. Expect Apple to follow suit before long.

Santa Rosa--er, Centrino Duo/Pro--is the latest in the series of laptop-technology chipsets from Intel that began with the first Centrino systems in 2003. (See my review from back then.) With these releases, Intel is trying to stamp itself in customers' minds as "what you want in a laptop"--elbowing aside competitor AMD along the way.

But these moves also point out how little some computer vendors can contribute to their products nowadays. What's the real use of a laptop built around Intel chips and circuits running a Microsoft operating system that you can't modify in any meaningful way? The trialware that comes with the desktop and the hold music on the help line?

(About that Santa Rosa nickname: Intel apparently has a thing for the California wine country, as earlier releases have been named for such other North Bay locales as Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino. Santa Rosa, for the uninitiated, is the county seat of Sonoma County and a fine place to visit in general, as I've found in many visits to my in-laws there.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 11, 2007; 10:25 AM ET
Categories:  Computers  
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Next: Dressing for Tech Success


are you saying why get a non apple type if the non apple types offer only fixed system but less capable than the apple types??

Posted by: tony | May 12, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

May 12, 2007 09:54 AM
tony wrote:
"are you saying why get a non apple type if the non apple types offer only fixed system but less capable than the apple types??"


Posted by: canuck66 | May 14, 2007 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Actually, he's lamenting a lack of reasonable choice.

From the hardware perspective (and setting aside Mac OS X), much of the difference these days isn't what's inside the case, but if the exterior has the Dell or HP logo. Since the logo does nothing to contribute to the utility of the product, it represents a "Non-Choice".

Much of this has to do with how the Windows Market has become a mere commodity: you pick your hardware features and ignore the assembler.

To be able to choose between a 5lb bag of white sugar marked 'Generic A' at Supermarket A and the 5lb bag of white sugar marked 'Generic B' at Supermarket B is an utter non-event. No brand loyalty is deserved.


Posted by: -hh | May 17, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'll fess up: I'm an Applefanboy. But I must use Wintel products -- so I just finished installing XP on Parallels and currently am loading Xubuntu onto a different Parallels drive. Just to be difficult for my tech support guys.

But the reason I won't use a PC is that the ones I can afford have terrible components (hello, Dull, Gluteway...) or are overpriced for what they offer (Sony, Fujitsu, I be talking to youuu). For a pricepoint in the middle of those, I get terrific hardware (wish it was a 10"-12"er, but I can live with 13.3) that'll run ANY OS I want. Or multiple OSes. Niiiice.

Apple has stepped up and offered us what the myriad of PC vendors haven't: flexibility. Without overloading their supply chain with 15 different models.

I know people rag on our dear Rob for being such a macster, but the reality is: They Just Work. It's that simple.

Posted by: Bush -- not related | May 17, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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