INTEL HAD TWO keynotes at Computex, with both Sean Maloney and Mooly Eden talking mostly about mobility. The main product launched was Montevina Plus, and there is a lot to like there.
Sean strikes a pose with Montevina plus
Montevina Plus adds a few things to the year old Montevina platform, chipsets, video capabilities and networking. The killer app is the Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) CPUs, they will do no less than enable a new class of notebooks. Given the sheer number of notebooks shown off behind Sean Maloney, you can see that support is quite widespread.
The chipset, called GS40 Express, and it is the G45 you know and disliked, but widened to 10 pipes from 8. Video decode is also said to be beefed up a bit, and it natively supports DRM infections over HDMI.
There are two new NIC families on the networking side. The first, Intel’s 82567 Gigabit NIC adds several vPro based security options and powers down links more aggressively. This may not sound like much, but the power features are definitely welcome, especially in the CULV space.
Wireless get a much bigger boost with the new 5000 series radios. The lower end 5100 is an 802.11n radio that supports up to 300Mbps transfers. It’s bigger brother, the 5300, adds Active Management Technology (AMT) 4.0 and ups the speed to 450Mbps, likely a first. The 5300 also comes in half-miniPCIe form factor, so it will be the one found in thin and light notebooks.
The 5000 series also supports My Wi-Fi, formerly known as Cliffside PAN. My Wi-Fi allows devices to connect without an intermediary like a hub. For the home user, this is the killer wireless app.
Saving the best for last, you have the new mobile CPUs. As we said earlier, there are four of them, the P8800, P9700, T9900, and SU2700. The first three are mainstream Core Number Numeral dual core parts on a 1066FSB. P8800, the slowest, runs at 2.66GHz and the top end T9900 screams along at 3.06GHz.
The best is also the slowest, a meager single core at 1.30GHz on an 800MHz FSB. The SU2700 CULV part is going to push the thin and light segment to the mainstream. No longer will those notebooks be $2000 and up executoys, they are going to swarm the $500-1000 market.
AMD has the DV2 in there now and there are several Via chips in this segment as well. Now with Intel coming to the party, it is an across the board fight. Expect this market to grow by leaps and bounds, competition is a good thing.
In the end, the Plus in Montevina Plus is more than an afterthought. It bundles better graphics, faster networking, higher performance or lower power CPUs along with ease of use capabilities. Calpella, the Nehalem based successor to Montevina is nowhere to be seen, but for now, the Plus is welcome. The CULV chip is the last entrant into the blossoming thin and light market.S|A