Intel debuts notebook Napa

Intel CEO Paul Otellini unveiled the dual-core low-power Centrino processor at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. The new chip is rumoured to be among the centrepieces of the announcements by Steve Jobs when he demonstrates the new Apple notebooks at MacExpo this week.

The launch of the dual-core Centrino follows the introduction of Intel’s first dual-core Pentiums in April of last year. At the same time the company also announced a single-core version of the chip known, not unsurprisingly, as the Core Solo.

The new Core Duo chip is part of a new three-chip family also consisting of Intel’s Mobile 945 chipset and Pro/Wireless 3945a/b/g chip.

Built on a 65nm process, the Core Duo chip has a number of features built into it aimed at maximising efficiency and reducing power consumption to a minimum.

These include what the company calls Dynamic Power Coordination and Enhanced Deeper Sleep with Dynamic Cache Sizing, a new power savings mechanism that enables the Smart Cache Sizing Cache to dynamically flush system memory based on demand, or during periods of inactivity. The idea is to channel power only to those parts of the processor that need it.

Intel says that notebooks fitted with the new Core Duo chip can get five hours of battery life from a standard battery while an extended battery can run for up to 10 hours.

Of particular interest to Mac users will be Digital Media Boost, which is claimed to enhance floating point operation. This is of benefit to multimedia applications such as 2D and 3D modelling, games, video editing and music.

However, at the moment, end-user applications tuned for dual-core are few and far between. Nevertheless a number of companies including Dell, Acer, HP and Sony have already announced notebooks featuring the new Core Duo design.

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