Intel unveils details on Arrandale, Clarkdale processors

CES doesn't start for a few days, but Intel has joined other vendors and is making announcements before the event

Intel's Arrandale mobile processor

Intel's Arrandale mobile processor

All eyes will be on Las Vegas later this week when the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off, but major vendors seem anxious to one-up each other with early announcements preceding the event. Lenovo unveiled its new line of AMD-powered laptops, and Intel has released details of its latest Arrandale and Clarkdale processors.

Both the Arrandale and Clarkdale processors are based on Intel's new Westmere architecture. The array of Arrandale and Clarkdale processors is staggering. The chips come in dual-core Corei7, Corei5, and Corei3 models, which are then further diversified by clock speed and operating voltage.

The Clarkdale chips are aimed at desktop systems, while the Arrandales are targeted for mobile computers. The processors are designed around Intel's new architecture which incorporates graphics processing and memory controller functions into the CPU. This eliminates the need for a separate graphics processor, as well as the Northbridge component of traditional Intel motherboard chipsets.

Like the recently unveiled Atom processors built on the Pinetrail architecture, the Arrandale chips will enable OEM hardware vendors to build smaller mobile computers that consume less power and require less cooling than current mainstream notebooks.

The Arrandale processors improve performance by including a "Dynamic Frequency" feature that allows the processor to vary the clock speed of the GPU function as well as the CPU. For scenarios where you might be watching a Blu-ray disc or watching something in HD, the Arrandale processor can dynamically adjust resources in favor of the graphics processing function to optimize performance.

Intel has also upped the ante on mobile entertainment by including native Blu-ray dual-stream support as well as lossless 7.1 channel audio. The combination may not meet the needs of hardcore HD or audio enthusiasts, but should more than suffice for the needs of mainstream consumers.

Intel has already been producing and shipping these chips to OEM hardware vendors, so we can probably expect to see a wave of associated desktop and notebook product launches over the next week in conjunction with the 2010 CES event in Las Vegas.

Intel President Paul Ottelini is slated to present a keynote speech at the 2010 CES later this week. Now that the details have already been leaked on the Arrandale and Clarkdale processors, it will be interesting to see if that takes the wind out of Ottelini's sails, or if there are additional surprises up Intel's sleeve.

Tony Bradley tweets as @PCSecurityNews, and can be contacted at his Facebook page .

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