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'Santa Rosa' Centrino systems due March 2007

Release pushed back to give 'Napa' more room, sources claim

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Intel's fourth-generation Centrino platform, codenamed 'Santa Rosa', will ship in just over a year's time, Taiwanese notebook manufacturer moles have claimed. The March 2007 timeframe represents a more narrow launch window than the H1 2007 span mentioned in previous Santa Rosa reports.

The platform will be based on Merom, the 65nm dual-core mobile processor based on Intel's next-generation, performance-per-Watt oriented architecture. Merom's expected to ship in Q3, and it has been suggested that Santa Rosa might debut late 2006.

That's probably too soon after the debut of the current Centrino generation, Napa, which even now hasn't ramped up fully, with full line-ups of Centrino Duo and Centrino Solo machines not anticipated until March. A full year gives Intel, component makers and notebook manufacturers time to prepare the next-generation platform, sources say in a DigiTimes report.

At launch, Merom will maintain Napa's 667MHz frontside bus speed, but come Santa Rosa, the FSB clock will be upped to 800MHz. Merom will provide 4MB of L2 cache, up from Core Duo's 2MB.

Santa Rosa will also incorporate 'Crestine', the successor today's Express 945GM and 945PM mobile chipsets, both part of Napa. It's not clear whether the Napa chipsets or Crestine will be required to enable Merom's 64-bit support.

Santa Rosa will also include 'Kedron', Intel's next-generation WLAN chipset, and undoubtedly the means by which either WiMAX or 802.11n - possibly both - will be brought to the Centrino platform. Of the two, 802.11n appears the most likely, given Intel's announcement of a single-chip 802.11n-capable wireless product earlier this week. ®

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