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Intel 'Centrino 4' to drive desktop demand?

'Santa Rosa' to boost small form-factor PC take up

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Think Centrino technology is only for notebooks? Think again. An Intel presentation partially leaked onto the web this week makes clear the next generation of the platform, codenamed 'Santa Rosa', will also be pitched at desktops when it's introduced "mid-Q1 to mid-Q2 2007".

'Desktop' is not quite the right word, of course, as we're talking living room systems. Crucially, the slides - posted by Chinese-language site HKEPC - claim Santa Rosa will "enable form-factor innovation", allowing manufacturers to offer Viiv-style entertainment PCs and ultra-sleek and mini systems for the home.

According to Intel's slides, Santa Rosa will deliver better acoustics - good for silent or near-silent systems - and enable thinner form-factors. The company admits the motherboard costs will be higher - approximately $95.88 to the $77.76 a board based on current Centrino technology costs - but with passive cooling and a superior integrated graphics core, overall system costs will be lower.

But why is form-factor so important? The slides say Intel-commissioned market research from September 2005 suggests that, after price, box size is the second most important factor in consumers' buying criteria. Branding comes third, with - surprise, surprise - the processor top of the list of component brands buyers look for. ®

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