Intel next-gen Centrino chipset ships

Small volumes arrive ahead of January launch

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Intel has begun shipping limited quantities of its 'Alviso' Pentium M notebook chipset ahead of full-scale production on 18 January 2005.

So claim Taiwanese laptop manufacturer sources cited by DigiTimes.

Alviso brings the feature set from the chip giant's i915 desktop chipset family - aka 'Grantsdale' - to its Centrino platform. Indeed, Alviso is a key component of 'Sonoma', Intel's second generation of Centrino, which it will launch early next year. The chip maker is expected to formally announce on 17 January 2005.

Alviso is said to debut as the i915PM - matching Grantsdale's nomenclature - and bring a 533MHz frontside bus, DDR 2 SDRAM, Serial ATA, PCI Express and Intel Hi-Def Audio technologies to the notebook platform. The chip maker will also introduce 533MHz FSB-enabled versions of its Pentium M processor line at the same time. The updated CPUs will also support what Intel calls the Execute Disable Bit - essentially the on-chip switch used by Windows XP Service Pack 2 to prevent certain viruses operating from data-only memory.

The 915PM is set to be followed to market in February with the 915GM, presumably adding an integrated Intel Media Graphics Accelerator 900 engine to the part.

At this stage it's not clear how Sonoma will be branded - will it simply be offered under the Centrino name or with some suffix to indicate its superiority over the older version of the platform.

What is claimed is that major notebook vendors will move rapidly to adopt Sonoma across their laptop product lines, Centrino-based machines in particular. ®

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