Friday, May 11, 2007

You do not need a Centrino

There has been a flurry of announcement by PC vendors on new product updates this week in regards to the recently announced Intel Santa Rosa platform. Among all these announcements are marketing speak. In 2002 when Intel announced the Centrino branded platform, many consumers were suckered in by Intel's marketing hoopla.

The marketing gurus at Intel were very clever in teaching consumers that they should get a Centrino branded laptop if they want to go wireless. By pulling the consumers legs they succeeded and Centrino as a brand is fairly successful. It's all nonsense of course as I am sure most of you would know by know that Centrino basically mean: an Intel processor (a Pentium-M back then, now Core variants) coupled with an Intel chipset and an Intel branded Wireless card. Truth is you could (or should!) have gotten a laptop with no Centrino sticker and still obtain good WiFi coverage via none-Intel branded cards. IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad enthusiast would know well about this as they almost always choose to configure their ThinkPads with Atheros-powered IBM/Lenovo branded wireless cards.

The sensible thing to choose.

The recently announced Centrino Pro brand aims to extend this, by adding the components required for Centrino branding with another Intel product known as Intel Active Management Technology (iAMT), branded in a non-glamorous vPro. None-vPro Centrinos with Core 2 Duo processors are also rebranded as Centrino Duo. Whether you need vPro/iAMT or not is up to you, but do not be suckered into all the marketing speak and buy into stuff you do not need (vPro is useless for consumers).

AMD is guilty of this as well with their new Turion brand. However to qualify for a Turion sticker all the vendor needs to do is to include one of AMD's low power K8L 64 processors and be free to stick in whatever chipsets and wireless cards into it. To be honest 64-bit processors are kind useless for consumers right now as most PC vendors ship their PCs with 32-bit OS, which means all those fancy 64-bit stuff on the CPU is sitting idle the whole time.

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