Why your next laptop should have Intel’s Santa Rosa Platform
I have a couple friends looking to buy new laptops right now who want to know what laptop is the best deal. With technology changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest in the PC market. One of the key aspects of the PC industry that has revitalized the market is Intel’s new found energy in technology development. Intel today is a much leaner company than it was a few years ago with a new roadmap that emphasizes technology development. All this in turn means that Intel is now a more agile company with a goal to have more frequent product/manufacturing refresh cycles and to stay ahead of the game.
As a result of this updated product refresh cycle we have seen Intel pump out many new products, technologies and useful features since the introduction of the Core architecture and the latest one can be seen in the new Centrino Platform, codenamed Santa Rosa.
The benefits of Santa Rosa (GM965 Chipset) are numerous. The following are key technology enhancements that will help you in every day computing:
- 800MHz Front Side Bus (increased from 667MHz) = Faster data flow and overall improvement in performance.
- SmartCache = Since many applications only utilize 1 core, SmartCache allows that one core to take advantage of the full 4MB L2 Cache rather than just half of it as other processors do.
- Dynamic Acceleration = When only one core is in use, the speed of that core is increased and the power to the other core is reduced to help improve performance with single threaded applications.
- GMA X3100 Graphics = Best integrated graphics solution from Intel yet. DirectX 10 compliant making it capable of running Vista’s Aero or other GPU intensive tasks.
- Scalable Front Side Bus = FSB can be scaled down to lower frequency to save power when not in heavy use.
- Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN = Integrated 802.11n (MIMO) wireless radio allowing for faster and longer range wireless data transmission.
- Turbo Memory = Either 512MB or 1GB of NAND flash memory used to store the computer’s most commonly accessed files in order to improve boot time, application performance and reduce power consumption through less hard disk access.
What’s important to realize here is that there has been a large amount of technology output at once and that it will take the software side some time to catch up. For example, initial benchmarks of the X3100 failed to show the performance enhancement but news sources reported today that a final release of the drivers is on the way that should fix existing issues. Additionally, the only operating system that can currently take advantage of Turbo Memory is Windows Vista, so if you are using Linux as your main OS, you will not see any performance enhancements until drivers are released. However, knowing Intel’s close relationship and support of the open source community, it is very likely that drivers for these OSes will show up soon.
Regardless, there is no question that Intel’s new Santa Rosa platform is the latest and greatest when it comes to laptop technology and the new features introduced here make for a great product that will provide you with an excellent computing experience in the form of improved perfomance and reduced power consumption for some time to come. Looking at what Intel has planned for the next product refresh (code named Penryn and Montevina) we can see that the next major product updates involve Intel moving to a 45nm manufacturing process and the introduction of integrated WiMax radios. Although these are huge feats in themselves and show Intel’s vast lead over the competition, as a general consumer or even an enthusiast it seems safe to invest in a new laptop now without missing out on too many new features in the near future.
With that said, just look for the new Centrino Duo logo when looking for a Laptop with the Santa Rosa platform. When deciding which laptop is for you, I suggest reading some reviews from reputable sources. One of my favorite sites is http://www.notebookreview.com/. If you are looking for a good all around laptop with this new technology, I highly recommend the Lenovo Thinkpad T61. If you have a little more to spend and are looking for a more ultraportable solution, check out the Thinkpad X61, you won’t be dissapointed.
Filed under: cpu, intel, laptops, mimo, notebooks, santa rosa, thinkpads, turbo memory, x3100 | 3 Comments