Intels Core 2 Makes Notebook Debut

Updated: Dell, Alienware, Toshiba and other PC makers begin offering Intel's Core 2 Duo chip for notebooks.

As expected, numerous PC makers on Aug. 28 unveiled plans to offer Intels new Core 2 Duo processor inside notebook PC models.

The Core 2 Duo for notebooks, otherwise known by the code name Merom, offers buyers extra performance—an increase of about 20 percent over its predecessor, the Core Duo, according to Intel—while holding power consumption to nearly the same level, an increase from 31 watts for the Core Duo to 34 watts for the Core 2 Duo.

The Core 2 Duo also adds 64-bit addressing, something that Intel notebook chips have lacked to date.

The chips arrival also continues the multi-staged introduction of Intels Core 2 Duo PC processor family, which the chip maker itself has labeled one of its most important rollouts in years, following a period in which it has seen its market share fall and its inventories rise.

"I believe that the Core Duo [predecessor to the Core 2 Duo] gave us…leadership in the mobile space on every aspect, battery life, performance—you name it," said Mooly Eden, general manager of Intels Mobile Platforms Group, in Santa Clara, Calif.

"Now that we have introduced Core 2 Duo I believe that…we are one generation ahead in every aspect. We are very… comfortable that we have an outstanding product."

Intel has also pledged to get the Core 2 Duo to market quickly for desktops and notebooks.

Intel, which says that Core 2 Duo will be used in more than 200 notebook models, expects the chip to be the fastest one yet to proliferate.

Indeed, most brand-name PC manufacturers announced at least one Core 2 Duo notebook on Aug. 28.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about how Intel plans to market both Core 2 Duo and Pentium chips for desktops.

Dell, for example, said it will allow its customers to order versions of its Latitude D520, D620 and D820 business notebooks with Core 2 Duo chips starting the week of Sept. 4. The PC maker, based in Round Rock, Texas, is allowing customers to order several of its Precision mobile workstations and Inspiron and XPS notebooks for consumers with the chip immediately, however.

Dell is not charging customers extra who wish to add the Core 2 Duo to its Precision M65 workstation. Thus customers can step from the Core Duo T2300E, the M65s base processor, to the Core 2 Duo T5500 for no charge. Upgrading to the next most powerful Core 2 Duo model, the T5600, costs $100, the same amount Dell charges to upgrade from the Core Duo T2300E to the Core Duo T2400, according to the companys Web site.

Gateway, based in Irvine, Calif., will offer Core 2 Duo chips in several of its notebooks for businesses, including its M255-E, M285-E, M465-E and M685-E models, along with the consumer-oriented Gateway NX260X, NX560, NX860X and CX210X, starting on Aug. 31, the company said in a statement.

Hewlett-Packard is also expected to adopt the chip, although it did not issue a release on Aug. 28. The company is more likely to launch its systems at a Sept. 6 event in New York that it has been planning.

Alienware will update its Area-51 m5000 series and its Sentia m3450 notebooks with the Core 2 Duo chip, the Miami-based company said in a statement.

Toshiba launched a new Qosmio G35 notebook model with the Core 2 Duo, a 17-inch widescreen display and a high-definition DVD-ROM drive. The machine will sell for just under $3,500, the company, based in New York, said in a statement.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices dual-core notebook chip.

PC makers will be able to offer one of five Core 2 Duo notebook processors at first.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is offering Core 2 Duo model numbers, including the T5500, T5600, T7200, T7400 and T7600, which range in speed from 1.66GHz to 2.33GHz. The chips will cost between $209 and $637 in 1,000-unit quantities, Intel said in a statement.

While a number of PC manufacturers will offer Core 2 Duo notebooks, most will be upgraded machines that feature a processor upgrade. Most manufacturers are expected to wait until the first half of 2007, when Intel plans to launch an upgraded mobile chip platform dubbed "Santa Rosa," to make major design changes to their notebooks.

Santa Rosa is scheduled to arrive in the first half of 2007 and will combine Core 2 Duo processors with a new supporting chip set code-named Crestline and an 802.11n wireless module, code-named Kedron, Intel has said.

Santa Rosa will also incorporate Intels AMT (Active Management Technology) and Robson Technology, which uses flash memory to augment a notebooks hard drive and thus allow it to boot more quickly and save on power by spinning down the hard drive for long periods of time.

Following the Core 2 Duos July 27 introduction in consumer desktops and some corporate workstations and its arrival in notebooks Aug. 28, Core 2 Duo desktops sold under the banner of Intels vPro brand are expected to arrive in early September.

One person familiar with the companys plan said Intel would launch vPro on Sept. 7.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include more details and comments from Intel.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.