CPU Buying Guide


AMD spreads its mobile family quite wide, incorporating lower-cost Mobile Sempron processors, higher end Mobile Athlon 64 processors and Turion 64 mobile processors. Its Sempron and Mobile Athlon 64 models are pitched towards the budget and desktop buyers respectively, while the Turion 64 lines are AMD's equivalent to Intel's Centrino platform, matching an AMD processor with a set list of components , although it's not as strict a list as with the Centrino platform. Turion 64 processors use a challenging naming convention, wherein chips are labelled with a two letter and two number nomenclature. The two numbers indicate relative performance, while the letters indicate relative power consumption. Higher numbers and letters closer to the end of the alphabet indicate better performance and lower battery consumption.


What is Centrino?


Centrino isn't just a processor; it's Intel's integrated approach to mobile notebook technology, encompassing a specific chipset, wireless network connectivity and low-power CPUs. In order for a vendor notebook to qualify for Centrino (or Centrino Duo) branding, all three components must be present within the notebook.

The current Centrino Duo package comprises Intel's Core 2 Duo CPU with an Intel 945 Express or P965 chipset with either an integrated or separate graphics chip. It can also be comprised either of an 802.11a/b/g wireless network chip, or with one that also does 802.11 draft-n.

It's not the CPU itself that makes Centrino a wireless solution -- that's dependent on the wireless module that is installed, along with a wireless antenna, normally built into the back of the screen of most notebooks. The part that the CPU plays here is to run as well as possible with as little an impact on power consumption as possible. That's because wireless networking is power-thirsty stuff, so by reducing the power needs of the CPU, you gain precious extra working time with your notebook. It's worth noting that while Intel's heavily invested in selling Centrino as the wireless solution, it's merely using wireless standards to enable Centrino-badged notebooks to communicate, via a wireless chip and antenna built into every Centrino notebook. Any notebook with a wireless card can manage the same communication feats as a Centrino notebook, albeit without the potential power and cost-savings of the Centrino package.

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