Dothan Offers Improved Speed
Just how good is Intel's new mobile platform? PC Magazine tested seven of the first notebooks to offer the chip to find out.Taking an already-terrific mobile processor and making it better, Intel has created a real winner with the revamped Pentium M. Code-named Dothan, the new chip features clock speeds hitting 2.0 GHz, an L2 cache doubled to 2MB, and 90-nm architecture that makes it all possible in the same footprint as the previous core (which was code-named Banias). And while system makers still need to commit to an Intel chipset and wireless solution to use the Centrino branding, there is an 802.11b/g optionthe Pro Wireless 2200, released a few months agomaking Centrino a more attractive option than the 802.11b-only choice offered when it first debuted.
The new Pentium M chips are available in clock speeds of 1.7, 1.8, and 2.0 GHz, but they wont be named as such. Rather, Intel is ushering in its new CPU naming convention, calling these 7-series chips the 735, 745, and 755. All still have a 400-MHz front-side bus, and current Intel chipsets only support a maximum 333-MHz DDR SDRAM. However, a new enhanced data pre-fetcher is supposed to take better advantage of the now-larger L2 cache to make operations within the processor faster. Intels next chipset, codenamed Alviso, will be available in the second half of 2004. It will support new DDR 2 memory, PCI Express and .ExpressCard.
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