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Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi Core Duo notebook

The dual-core notebook other vendors have to beat?

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Review Over the past couple of years Acer has made quite a name for itself in the notebook market, producing high spec machines at amazing price points. The company has also built a reputation for being first out of the gate with the latest notebook technology and that's never been more true than right now. The TravelMate 8204WLMi is the first notebook I've seen based on Intel's new dual-core mobile processor, 'Yonah'.

For me, dual-core processors mark the most important leap in notebook technology since the colour screen. If you managed to get yourself a dual-core desktop chip during 2005 you'll have a good idea of where I'm coming from...

Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi

Back in March 2005 at IDF Intel announced that Yonah would be the first CPU based on a 65nm process and that it would ship at the end of 2005. Now, given that it's early January 2006, I'd say Intel managed to get the timing pretty much spot on. But what's far more important is that Yonah personifies Intel's new ethos: performance per Watt. Gone are the days of pushing clock frequencies sky high regardless of power consumption or heat generation. Intel has realised that the way forward is to produce fast chips that draw as little power as possible and run as cool as can be.

The first step on this road was the introduction of the Pentium M. This wasn't an easy sell for Intel at first, since the company had banged on about megahertz for so long that producing chips that ran so much slower than their desktop counterparts caused a little confusion in the marketplace. But now no one would argue that the Pentium M isn't a fabulous mobile processor and that Intel's Centrino platform has not only increased the notebook user base, but also spearheaded the drive towards wireless networking.

About this time last year Intel launched the 'Sonoma' platform for notebooks, which was the second generation of Centrino. Accompanying Yonah is another new platform, this time codenamed 'Napa'. The CPU's real name is the Core Duo. Don't think that you won't be able to get a single core mobile chip anymore because you can, and this little baby will be called the Core Solo processor - you get it, right?

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