Notebooks Set to Double Up Processors

Early next year, notebook PCs will begin making the transition to dual-core processors. The transition will be sped along with help from Intel.

Dual-core processor notebooks are mustering to take over the world of portable PCs.

The transition—a move that began in desktops and servers earlier this year—will get under way in January when dual-core processors forthcoming from Intel Corp. begin arriving in systems.

Computer makers, who are at the moment designing and testing notebooks with dual-core Intel chips, say the combination of Intels Yonah—the chip makers first dual-core mobile Pentium processor—and its new notebook platform, dubbed Napa, will offer a significant boost in performance, compared to existing single-core Pentium M chips, but will do so without exacting penalties in battery life or significantly altering their notebook hardware.

Thus the Yonah-Napa bundle, scheduled to arrive in January, appears to offer greater performance, without forcing large shifts in notebooks designs, a rarity for a major processor change.

The bundle isnt expected to command a large price increase, either. Combined, the factors could ensure a quick transition to dual cores in notebooks.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about Intels 2006 notebook platform plans.

"Its going to enable us to put a great deal more performance into what are already very thin and light systems," said Rob Herman, program director for Lenovo Group LTDs ThinkPad brand.

"From a ThinkPad perspective, we take great pride in our ability to take power and performance that Intel delivers and integrate it into very thin and light packages, so our customers dont have to sacrifice anything to get that performance. We look at this as a double bonus, in terms of being able to deliver dual-core in the same type of package" thats available now.

Those performance gains will vary, depending on the type of software a dual-core notebook is running.

Few notebook-specific applications have been optimized for multiprocessing. However, a notebook owner who multitasks, running several applications at one time, will see snappier performance from a dual-core machine, which can divide up those tasks more easily, Herman said.

Next Page: Adding Yonah.