After a few
remote illustrations, the demonstration portion the
presentation was over and the focus shifted to input from
high ranking executives from T-Mobile, Boeing, Marriot,
MacDonalds, Toshiba, SAP, Cisco and several others.
The majority of these guests were Vice Presidents, CEO's and
General Managers, adding to the magnitude of what Intel has
unveiled. After a few moments of discussion regarding
each company's role in the future of wireless, Craig Barrett
and Anand Chandrasekhar entertained the press for a quick
The next phase
of the day was a technology overview on the 7th floor where
of OEM's got to show their stuff. I was
eager to catch a few glimpses of the latest technology,
hoping to take a test drive and snap some pictures.
Unfortunately, with such a popular event and the fact that
lunch, and the demonstration was combined into one room, it
was virtually impossible to move, let alone get a glimpse at
a demo. As you can see in this picture, there was
hardly any room to get around.
So with that said, let's do a quick rundown on what Centrino
is all about.
Centrino Architectural Advantages
"Mobile" doesn't mean light duty performance
Centrino technology consists of three major components; the
Intel Pentium M processor, the Intel 855 Chipset, the Intel
PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection. We'll break down
each of these and touch on their roles in the Centrino
Pentium M processor
Pentium M processor has undergone some key changes
that allows it to offer increased performance while
reducing power consumption. The first is the
implementation of Advanced Branch Prediction
which reduces latency in the instruction pipeline,
resulting in increasing performance and lower power
consumption. Next is a feature called
Micro-Ops Fusion which has a main role of
combining two micro-operations into a single micro-op,
again for faster execution and lower power.
A Dedicated Stack Manager has also been
implemented, which helps manage the CPU stack and
associated data, again providing for more efficient
computation. Lastly, the chip is outfitted with
a full 1MB of low power L2 cache which is
specifically designed to shutdown high-speed memory
when it is not being accessed.
end, the P4M processor is faster yet more efficient
and able to complete its task at a fraction of the
power consumption required by other processors.
This is will not only yield the obvious performance
improvements, it will also allow developers to create
smaller and thinner devices since heat will be less of
an issue. Anand had a couple of units on stage
that were the thinnest mobile machines I've ever seen.
Intel 855 Chipset
heart of the Centrino technology is the Intel 855
Chipset which comes in two flavors, the 855PM
which has workstation quality graphics integrated and
the 855GM which boasts Intel Extreme
Graphics 2 capability. The new chipset, as
you may have guessed, is optimized with a number of
power saving technologies. While it supports the
well known SpeedStep technology, it also
implements a timer that shuts down the chipset when it
is inactive and has a Deeper Sleep Alert State
for enhanced power management.
PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection
component of Centrino is the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100
Network Connection. Build to meet the 802.11b
standard, the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network
Connection has been optimized to integrate easily to
existing and future WiFi access points. Intel
also plans to support the 802.11g standard later this
year, with full 54Mbps performance.
In the end, I
think that Mr. Gladwell's opening remarks about "turning
points" is a fair assessment of what Intel has planned here.
In fact, this may be the next big thing since Bill Gates
introduced us to his new product called "Windows." The
demonstration today showed that there are some major changes
coming that all of us will get to enjoy and benefit from at
some point. As the initiative to move to wireless
moves forward, I believe that its effects will be as large
as the Internet itself. Whether this technology has
the ability to replace wired networking remains to be seen,
but if today was any indication of what's to come, I think
some exciting changes are on the way.
If you would
like a more detailed look at all of the technologies that
comprise Centrino, be sure to
stop by Anandtech.com for his analysis of the technology.