When Intel introduced the 'Banias' Pentium-M with the Centrino platform, the industry saw for the first time from the chip giant a processor that's not an indolent conversion of their Pentium-4 desktop processor for use in notebooks. The shorter pipeline, Micro-Ops fusion, Advanced Branch Prediction and large L2 cache are some of the ingredients that made the Pentium-M and the Centrino Mobile Technology such an enormous success. For mobile processors, the Intel Pentium-M is still undisputedly at the top of the food chain. We have seen the popularity and sale of notebooks rising dramatically and it wouldn't be shocking to see more and more vendors plunging into the mobile market with more models, variety and configurations.
Now that the 'Dothan' Pentium-M has finally made its way out of the rabbit-hole and into the limelight, we're just holding our breath for the next major platform overhaul with the 'Sonoma' lurking just around the corner. The new 'Sonoma' platform will undoubtedly change the mobile computing world with not just another leap in performance, but it should also deliver greater experiences with varied form factors and features. Just don't expect notebooks to be fashioned the way they are today.
Increasing the L2 cache size from 1MB to 2MB is really the way to go for mobile processors. The die shrink is just one reason to add more transistors into the processor without really incurring extra power consumption overheads. Thanks to Intel's excellent power saving features which can specifically power up transistors that are only in use, the additional 60 million transistors did not seem to affect the power consumption much, at least from what we've seen in this review here. Of course, at the end of the day, Moore's Law gets extended and we'll see this happening again when Intel moves down to the 65nm process technology.
In the year 2003, Intel made a colossal step forward with their 130nm 'Banias' Pentium-M and has essentially jumpstarted the notebook industry into a whole new world of freedom and lifestyle. The launch of the 90nm 'Dothan' Pentium-M and later with 'Sonoma' will not only bring us the next phase in mobility, but will also be an untethered entertainment powerhouse. How?s that for the next giant leap for the mobile computing industry into the wireless digital age?
*At point of publication, the Intel Pentium-M 735 (1.7GHz), 745 (1.8GHz) and 755 (2.0GHz) are priced at US$294, US$423 and US$637 in 1,000-Unit quantities respectively.
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