updated 02:00 pm EDT, Tue March 11, 2008
Intel Centrino 2 June Line
Despite Intel's aggressive plans to roll out its Centrino 2 mobile platform in June, the company is now set to push back processors suitable for the MacBook Air and for gaming notebooks by as much as three months, a leaked roadmap shows. Contrary to some early expectations, the June release will only focus on processors for the most common notebooks. Two high-performance Core 2 Duo chips at 2.53GHz and 2.8GHz will consume the same 35 watts of power as most current processors; three power-optimized processors at 2.26GHz, 2.4GHz, and 2.53Ghz will be more efficient at 25 watts but share most of the same features as their more demanding siblings, with only a reduction from 6MB to 3MB of Level 2 cache affecting the bottom two models.
The release will also see a 3.06GHz Core 2 Extreme dual-core processor, whose 45 watts of power will limit it to desktop replacement notebooks, and the Atom 270, a slightly faster 1.66GHz variant on the Atom 230 destined for the Eee PC and other micro notebooks or UMPCs.
All of these larger processors will use a 1,066MHz system bus and support both faster DDR2 and DDR3 notebook memory. Bulk prices for the chips are expected to start at $44 in bulk for the Atom 270 and will range between $209 and $348 for the low-power Core 2 Duos. The full-power Core 2 Duos and the Core 2 Extreme will be priced at $316, $530, and $851 respectively. Beyond the Atom, the costs for each chip are near mirrors for slower processors used today, which range between 2.1GHz and 2.4GHz in the budget class, 2.5GHz and 2.6GHz for full performance, and 2.8GHz for the Core 2 Extreme.
Absent from the June schedule, however, are the company's small-package processors, which both reduce the size of the connection surrounding the main CPU as well as its power use. The company has now moved the release of the 1.6GHz and 1.83GHz low-voltage Core 2 Duos to a September launch for $284 and $316 respectively. The release pushes back the release of any likely updates to newer, fuller-featured ultraportables such as the Lenovo X300 and MacBook Air towards the late summer or early fall. The designs consume just 17 watts of peak power but share the faster 1,066MHz bus and 6MB cache as premium processors, promising slightly improved performance along with better battery life.
Ultra-low voltage 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz processors, as well as small 25-watt 2.26GHz and 2.4GHz processors, will also ship in the same timeframe at prices varying between $262 for single- or dual-core 1.2GHz chips and $316 for the 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo. Intel also lists its first quad-core notebook processor as shipping at 2.53GHz in September for $1,038 as a Core 2 Extreme chip limited to thicker notebooks.