Page Two

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-03-07 Print this article Print

The 802.11a brand of Wi-Fi, with a 54M-bps transfer rate, uses a spectrum around 5GHz and is not as popular as 802.11b/g networks that use the 2.4GHz spectrum. However, because there is less interference in the 5GHz band, we expect to see an increasing number of enterprises purchasing the 802.11a/b/g option as corporate laptops are refreshed.

eWEEK Labs recommends that IT managers evaluating laptops carefully consider how—or if—they can take advantage of all the features in the new mobile platform.

For example, only one of two currently available wireless adapters for Sonoma supports tri-mode IEEE 802.11a/b/g networks. The Dell Inc. Latitude D610 notebook eWEEK Labs tested was equipped with the 802.11b/g version. And only two of the chip sets offered for Sonoma support the faster 533MHz front-side bus.

Click here to read the review of the Latitude D610. Intel is now working on the fourth-generation Centrino mobile processor, code-named Napa. Intel executives have said little about Napa so far, but there is speculation that the platform will support WiMax capabilities because of previous statements from company officials that WiMax would be a feature in notebooks by 2006.

Mooly Eden, vice president of the mobility group at Intel, said that Napa, a dual-core chip, will build on the capabilities of Sonoma. However, Eden declined to say whether it would support a 64-bit architecture.

At this time, in fact, it appears that Intel officials do not believe that 64-bit is ready for mobile prime time.

"We decided not to design Sonoma as a 64-bit core because the infrastructure that exists today does not support it," said Eden at the Sonoma launch in January. "From our perspective, 64-bit translates to transistors, which translate to leakage and loss of battery life."

Intels archrival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., would beg to differ. AMD is readying its Turion 64 mobile processor, and AMD officials in January touted the success of the companys Mobile AMD Athlon 64 processors at the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.

AMD is beginning to gain momentum in its attempt to challenge Intel in the notebook market. AMD currently offers four mobile chips: the Mobile Athlon 64, the Athlon 64 for Notebooks, the Mobile Sempron and the mobile Athlon XP-M.

While AMD has revealed few details about Turion 64 so far, executives have said that the technology will be optimized to enable AMD64 performance on a mobile platform and will include built-in security for Windows XP Service Pack 2, wireless capabilities and extended battery life.

Laptops based on AMD64 processors are expected to be available the first half of this year.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached via e-mail at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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