Hands on with Centrino
Heres the poop. Just got back from a meeting with a large computer hardware vendor here in Chicago, where three of us from my company were invited to a hands on with the new centrino systems.
We got to play on the new Acer, the Thinkpad T40, and the Tecra M1. I got the feeling that these are the first preview units and most of the systems are between 1-2 weeks out for general delivery.
These systems are definately sexy. Light, very quick, and according to all sources, very long winded on batterys (all systems came in over 4 hours run time on one battery).
They gave me a sheet with some benchmark results they ran for us while we watched. The results are really impressive (If incomplete) against Pentium 4-M processors. The new 1.6 ghz systems appear every bit as quick as a well made 2.2-2.4 ghz P-4M systems, the graphics are impressive as well since the M9 seems to be the standard. The Compaq Evo that is coming out will have the Radeon 7500, I have no idea why.
Compared to the Desktop Pentium 4 however the results were still good, but not up to the desktop processors brute strength. Only had time to run the Sysmark 2002 benchmarks, but here is what we got:
Bapco sysmark 2002
Winbook J6 3.06 no HT (Reference)- 239
Acer Travelmate 803LCi - 186
Thinkpad - 176
Tecra M1 - 180
So, concidering these systems are running at 1.6 ghz and the Winbook at 3.06 with a desktop proc. the acer was pretty impressive, but no threat to the raw processing power of the Sagers and other systems with desktop parts.
All the 3Dmark scores I have seen thus far, run about point for point with the Sager, if the Centrino system used 64mb of ram, and the ATI M9. Most systems I saw however only had 32 mb of sdram, so they ran about 2000 points slower.
My impression is that these are some pretty hot little systems, and sure worth a look if you need serious battery life, But just not in the same league as the Sagers and thier brute force approach.
Intel did some pretty cool stuff with these new Pentium M's and I guess the big jump in performance over the P-4M has been due to the effiency of its branch prediction algorithm, and its ability to do more work per cycle. They say the new Pentium M will be in systems at 2.0 Ghz by the Christmas season this year. Be interesting to see how they scale up in performance with the clock increase. By then, im sure Sager will have the Prescott, M10, and 3.6 P4s running so it will be no real threat then either.
So for now, Sager still rules
EDIT- Forgot to mention that the acer has the WIERDEST keyboard I have ever tried to use. Its set up like a smiley. Both ends of the keyboard bend up toward the ends. Im sure after getting used to the reach it would be easier to use than a standard keyboard, but I didnt much like it.