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Intel 'ditches' high-end 'Centrino 3' chipset

955XM reportedly axed

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Intel has reportedly axed the most powerful of three chipsets scheduled for its third-generation Centrino platform, 'Napa', due to ship early next year.

The dropped chipset, the 955XM, was to have provided notebook users with the ability to access up to 4GB of DDR 2 SDRAM, a DigiTimes report notes, citing motherboard-maker sources.

The remaining Napa chipsets, the 945PM and 945GM, will now be upgraded to support 4GB of memory, up from the 2GB maximum they were originally intended to provide.

The chipsets' numbering scheme echoes Intel's desktop chipset line-up. Clearly, then, the 955XM was intended as a high-end, performance-oriented part, possibly to be pitched toward gaming notebooks.

All three chipsets will support a 667MHz frontside bus clock and 667MHz DDR 2. Whether Intel launches the 955XM in Q1 2006 or not, it is expected to follow up the initial Centrino debut with a pair of lower-end chipsets in Q2 2006: the 945GMS and the 940GML. Both support DDR 2 SDRAM, but clocked to 533MHz and 400MHz, respectively. Their FSB clocks are set to 667MHz and 533MHz, respectively. They will be pitched not only at low-end notebooks but at small form-factor PCs.

The chipsets are expected to support the 65nm 'Yonah' mobile processor in both its dual- and single-core varieties. Intel has said Yonah will ship by the end of the year, but don't expect it to make much of a noise until Q1 2006 when Napa is formally launched. Yonah should ship clocked to between 1.66GHz and 2.16GHz, and contain 2MB of L2 cache. Expect it to support Virtualisation Technology and Intel Active Management Technology, along with the latest incarnation of SpeedStep.

There's no word on 64-bit support, but with the chipsets supporting no more than 4GB of memory, there's arguably little point in adding it just yet. Then again, that hasn't stopped AMD with Turion, so we'll see how this one plays out.

Yonah does include Digital Media Boost, Advanced Thermal Manager, Dynamic Power Coordination and Smart Cache, a host of FECLs (FEatures with Capital Letters) to tease the notebook-buying public. ®

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