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Intel Centrino 2 to offer 533MHz FSB – report

Sonoma slips

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'Sonoma', the second generation of Intel's Centrino platform, may now appear later than anticipated, according to the latest roadmap information to leak onto the web.

Announced in September at Intel Developer Forum, Sonoma comprises a second-generation Wi-Fi adaptor, Calexico 2; the 'Alviso' chipset; and 'Dothan', the 90nm, 2MB L2 version of the Pentium M. Intel said the platform will debut in the second half of 2004.

With Dothan due to ship late 2003/early 2004, that timeframe was taken as shorthand for Q3. But according to roadmap information relayed to Xbit Labs, Sonoma will not appear before Q4 2004.

That's still within Intel's publicly stated timetable, so face will be saved. Alviso's North Bridge features a new graphics core and adds dynamic screen power-saving technology, which controls a notebook's backlight on the fly to reduce the backlight brightness - and thus its power consumption - based on what's displayed on the screen. It also supports DDR 2 SDRAM.

The Alviso South Bridge, ICH6-M, brings Serial ATA and Gigabit Ethernet to Centrino. The chipset uses the ExpressCard add-in format. It also features 'Azalia', a sound system that supersedes AC97 and offers Dolby 7.1 support.

Like 'Prescott', Dothan appears to be taking longer to arrive than planned. It is expected to launch at 1.6, 1.7 and 1.8GHz early next year, after Intel has begun trickling enough chips through to customers to record the sales in its accounts this year.

However, it now appears Dothan will hit 2GHz in Q3 - past roadmaps didn't have that milestone being reached before Q4. Come that quarter, and Intel will up Dothan's frontside bus to 533MHz. Alviso - and this Sonoma - will almost certainly bet the chipset that enables that effective FSB frequency.

Low-voltage Dothans are now roadmapped to appear during Q1 2004, still at 1.3GHz, rising to 1.4GHz in Q2, and taking on the 533MHz bus in Q4. As per previous roadmaps, Ultra-low Voltage Dothans are still set to ship at 1GHz next quarter, rising to 1.1GHz in Q2. ®

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