The first mainstream dual-core notebooks are now starting to appear in the channel and, by all accounts, they promise to push the envelope on performance, portability and power.
Intel officially launched its widely anticipated next-generation mobile platform, dubbed Core Duo Pro (formerly code-named Napa), at last month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The new mobile platform boasts significant improvements in overall CPU performance, power management and mobility. Systems based on the new Centrino should realize a 68 percent improvement in throughput, while consuming 28 percent less power, resulting in an extra hour of battery life.
At least 230 different designs are planned, says Shmuel (Mooly) Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group.
"I believe the ramp-up to dual-core will be very fast," Eden says. "The usage benefits and pricing strategy will enable that."
Among the new offerings:
Lenovo has launched a new T-Series commercial notebook, as well as a new subnotebook line--the ThinkPad X60 Series--that replaces its X40 Series. In addition to both single- and dual-core processors, the X60 sports a 2.5-inch Serial ATA drive that runs at 5,400 rpm and scales to 100 GB, compared to the X40's 1.8-inch hard drive, which spins at 4,200 rpm and has limited capacity.
With a 667-MHz front-side bus and support for DDR2 SDRAM, the X60 supports up to 3 MB of RAM. "That's twice the addressable memory, says Jeff Samitt, Lenovo's worldwide segment manager for the ThinkPad.
Hewlett-Packard launched its dv1000 notebook, equipped with a built-in camera plus other multimedia features that take advantage of dual-core processing, says Kevin Wentzel, technical marketing manager for HP's notebooks. "It will be targeted at those who run multiple applications," Wentzel says.
Toshiba previewed the next version of its Portege convertible tablet at CES. The dual-core Portege M400, which replaces the M200, includes support for 120-GB drives, up to 4 GB of RAM, 802.11a/b/g wireless connectivity, Bluetooth and biometric authentication. "This is optimized for productivity," says Craig Marking, product manager for Toshiba's computer systems group.
Acer's TravelMate 8200 supports dual SATA drives and the company's Gravisense technology, which detects sudden motions, enabling the disk heads to retract to avoid surface scratching.
Gateway has launched a slew of Centrino Duo notebooks--among them, the M685-E, with graphics-intensive components for high-end functions, and the NX860 for digital recording and video editing.
Sony has released two Vaio notebooks. The Vaio Premium, with a 13.3-inch display, has shock protection and a biometric scanner; the Vaio FE series, meanwhile, is a high-performance mobile media center with a 15.4-inch-wide display and SATA drive.