The long road to thin and light computing (part 2)

3/26/2012 9:03:09 AM

The long road to thin and light computing (part 2)


Despite some incredible designs made by companies like Toshiba and Sony, obviously the chasing Moore’s rule is leading Intel to the unproven path. Therefore, the company has moved from promoting single-core performance quicker and quicker to use a large number of transistors which Moore formulated to provide more cores and features on silicon.

Because of the support of Pentium-M, Intel launched the most successful brand since Pentium. Centrino is the trademark attached to systems using chipset, CPU and wireless Intel card. Like Ultrabook, it’s the way helping Intel sell more products and ensure expectations of what can be achieved from a mobile product. Centrino laptop will connect with more and more Wi-Fi routers in the market and have all inherent features in a Intel chipset (it’s the time cheaper chipset options from VIA and other producers are used in common).

Wireless Centrino technology is not the latest and greatest, but what it has is the valuable recognition and the appropriate test beyond, which makes a consistent experience for the last user. You can’t underestimate the role of Centrino in the development of Wi-Fi, and now most of our convenience we have on man devices is from the enforcement of rules which Centrino has set.

It took several years for Intel to integrate CPU categories. After that, it transmitted from the Pentium-M to Core Solo and Duo processor and launched regular update for Centrino at that time. These Core processors were initially designed to become the CPU of laptop, a significant deviation from the decrease of desktop designs dominating in the beginning of this century.

It also includes changing CPU design philosophy: guide designs to desktops then polish them for laptops. To provide necessary heat and performance management to create better laptop processors, designers need to combine things like power management into the CPU. It means that develop technology by keeping CPU in low power state or as default and increase power when we need instead of letting CPU come into standby mode.

Sandy Bridge

The change in CPU design philosophy has become clearer as time goes by. Modern laptops use processors based on Sandy Bridge of Intel and have many traditional chipset functions to CPU. It’s important that it composes of integrated graphics core, allow Intel to have better performance from what have been considered as one of the biggest mistakes in their argument.

This tightly integrated processor also marks the top of years of the development of energy management. The processor mainly stays in sleeping state, use Turbo boost of Intel to wake up quicker, finish tasks then return to sleeping state. It enables battery lifetime longer than before, while keeping heat under control. These factors are the key for the existence of Ultrabook designs, where it’s rare to find any room for cooling and battery size.

Basically, Ultrabook hasn’t had any destinations yet, and there’s very few products launched till now. They are results of many years of development and while they are often thrown away as a respond to MacBook Air, in fact, thin and light form factor in a cheap package has become a target for many years. The future has arrived, and as you’ll see, Ultrabook really changes our expectation of a laptop.

How about AMD?

Despite the success of Sandy Bridge in 2011, our favorite mobile processors actually come from AMD as Llano APU form. After years of supplying mobile products without impression, AMD has launched a combination CPU/GPU with power management features and outstanding battery life. Unfortunately, AMD also had a year when it couldn’t produce enough processors to meet demand that meant while systems based on APU sold like hot cakes, they didn’t made any dent in business activities of Intel.

Because Ultrabook is the brand of Intel, AMD can’t use this term but it is promising many ultra-thin products based on next generation of Trinity APU in upcoming months. We have seen Llano already, so we can expect that they will provide battery life as well as products based on Intel, while supplying less CPU power and better GPU performance. It will bring more performance to play games in thin and light space, but meanwhile, Intel will launch overhauled Ivy Bridge processors to come with better graphic performance in Ultrabook.

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