Intel rolls out revamped Centrino platform

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New systems feature remote repairs and better battery life.

Intel has formally rolled out the latest version of its Centrino laptop chips, featuring a new chipset and 802.11n wireless networking. 

The Santa Rosa Centrino systems will run Intel's new Core2 Duo processors, which Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile products group, described as "a Core2 Duo on steroids".

The chips feature a faster 800MHz front-side bus and better energy efficiency. The GM965 chipset will also be an important part of the Centrino systems.

Eden claims that the chipset will allow for significant improvement in graphics performance, particularly in high-definition video.

Intel also hopes to boost Centrino's performance by integrating its Turbo Memory cache system, which the company claims can cut the loading time for frequently-used applications in half and improve boot times by 20 percent.

Turbo Memory will be an optional add-on for Centrino systems in 512MB and 1GB modules.

Intel also announced a new Centrino Pro offering for business users, which features components to allow administrators to remotely repair system files on damaged or compromised laptops.

Centrino Pro is an extension of Intel's vPro desktop programme and will take the "best of vPro and extend it to the overall client environment", according to Eden. 

"If you have the console software to manage your desktop, you can also manage your notebook," he said.

Eden explained that the remote administration system works by embedding each hardware driver into the operating system and onboard chips.

When a piece of system software is damaged, the Centrino Pro systems can stop the boot process and access the networking hardware.

It will then alert an administrator at a remote location, and allow them to remotely boot into the laptop's Bios to perform repairs.

Eden also outlined Intel's immediate plans for wireless networking, reaffirming the company's commitment to WiMax as a next-generation standard. 

"For the time being, we are not planning on introducing 3G," Eden said when asked about plans to implement the rival standard. "We are still betting on [WiMax] as we believe it is the right technology."
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