Reports: Some Intel Centrinos Out, But Consumer Future Bright

Amidst a wholesale reshuffling and discontinuance of some processors, Intel on Monday will unveil three devices aimed at driving its Centrino product line into consumer markets. At the same time,

May 7, 2004

2 Min Read
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Amidst a wholesale reshuffling and discontinuance of some processors, Intel on Monday will unveil three devices aimed at driving its Centrino product line into consumer markets. At the same time, it will unveil its new processor-labeling scheme.

The designations will be different, in that they will eschew processor clock speeds. The top-of-the line Pentium Model 750 will have the fastest clock speed -- 2GHz. The Model 745 will run at 1.8GHz and the Model 735 at 1.7GHz.

"The Centrino will be for consumers," said Nathan Brookwood of Insight64 in an interview, "in the same way the Centrino created excitement last year when it was sold to business users in IT departments." Underlining the sea-change of the Centrino line will be the consumer-oriented retailers participating in the announcement Monday--Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, and Office Depot are all lined up.

The entire line falls under Intel's Dothan family, which has been plagued by manufacturing delays, as the semiconductor colossus shifts from a 130nm manufacturing process to 90nm. "We take it for granted that Intel will introduce improvements," said Brookwood. "Power consumption and heat dissipation will be down, and performance will be up in the new models."

In another development, the Reuters news agency said Intel on Friday will announce a realignment of some of its future desktop and server processors. Marked for removal from its lineup is its fourth-generation Pentium 4 "Tejas" chip. Another device utilizing a similar architecture--the "Jayhawk" process in the Xeon family--is likewise slated for cancellation, Reuters said, adding that engineers working on the chips will be reassigned.If true, the reports would indicate that additional Intel projects could be in doubt--namely "Potomac" and "Tulsa" in the Xeon family, and "Cedarmill" for the desktop. Most of the models delayed and/or slated for cancellation weren't due to come to market for several months, so little immediate damage in the marketplace is likely.

The rearranging of Intel's processor alignment comes after Microsoft's Bill Gates, this week, said that 64-bit PC computing will be mainstream in two years. Intel competitor Advanced Micro Devices has two 64-bit PC families on the market; Intel will soon have 64-bit PC entries, too. Intel's 64-bit Itanium has, to date, addressed the market segment beyond PCs.

Brookwood, who is principal analyst at Insight64, said the 64-bit market has been somewhat slow to take off what with the release of Microsoft's XP 64-bit Extended Systems now scheduled for introduction in the fourth quarter. He said the release of the software has been held up by concerns over security issues. When the software does come, however, Brookfield urged users to test it out on both AMD and Intel 64-bit processors in order to make their own decisions.

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