August 23, 2005 5:54 PM PDT

Your laptop is getting very, very sleepy

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel on Tuesday outlined several advancements it hopes will improve the performance of next year's notebooks, including a technology that creates a deeper sleep state.

The "Enhanced Intel Deeper Sleep" technology, a feature of the company's new chips, lowers a processor's voltage below the Deeper Sleep state found in Intel's current family of mobile chips. When the processor is inactive, the system clears out some of the memory cache to help save power.

"What you get is a deeper sleep that takes less power from the battery and improves the performance," Mooly Eden, vice president of Intel Mobile platforms group, said during a press briefing at the Intel Developer Forum here.

The chipmaker said its upcoming Napa platform will include an improved graphics media accelerator, enhanced video playback capabilities, support for high-definition displays and Intel's High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, or HDCP.

Currently in tests with Intel's partners and scheduled for release next year, the platform includes Intel's next-generation Pentium M processor code-named Yonah and its Calistoga chipset. Intel CEO Paul Otellini revealed that a new platform for laptops code-named Merom would be the follow-on to Yonah.

Eden also revealed that Napa would include Intel's PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG wireless component with 802.11e Quality of Service support. The enhancement helps a notebook support real-time applications such as making phone calls using Internet protocols, also known as voice over IP, or VoIP.

Intel said it expects to keep the Calistoga chipsets in full supply, a challenge the company said it currently has with its Sonoma platform. Otellini said that Intel would be shifting some focus in its manufacturing plants to include more chipset production as the company transitions to 65-nanometer chip production.

Notebooks have become a significant profit center for Intel. In the first quarter of this year, notebook chips accounted for 30 percent of Intel's output. That figure is expected to rise to about 33 percent next year, Intel has said.

In the first quarter, notebook sales in U.S. retail, a small, yet significant sub-segment of the overall PC market, passed sales of desktops for the first time.

 

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