CPU Technology

No area of personal computing has changed more rapidly than portable technology. With software programs getting bigger all the time, and portable PCs being used for a greater variety of applications, manufacturers have had to had their work cut out attempting to match the level of functionality of a desktop PC in a package that can be used on the road. This has led to a number of rapid advancements in both size and power and by mid-1998 the various mobile computing technologies had reached a level where it was possible to buy a portable computer that was as fast as a desktop machine and yet capable of being used in the absence of a mains electricity supply for over five hours.

In 2003 mobile processor technology took a huge step forward with the release of Intel’s Pentium M chip, formerly codenamed “Banias”. This was fundamentally different from previous Intel notebook chips, which had hitherto been based on a chip architecture that had been designed for desktop PCs. The Pentium M chips were specifically designed to reduce power consumption, rather than for raw performance. Such was their level of success that in early 2006, the NetBurst platform was succeeded by a microarchitecture that was directly based on the Pentium M, and one that Intel planned to deploy in all market sectors – mobile, desktop and server – going forward.

In mid-1995 Intel’s processor of choice for notebook PCs was the 75MHz version. This was available in a special thin-film package – the Tape Carrier Package (TCP) – designed to ease heat dissipation in the close confines of a notebook. It also incorporated Voltage Reduction Technology which allowed the processor to “talk” to industry standard 3.3 volt components, while its inner core – operating at 2.9 volts – consumed less power to promote a longer battery life. In combination, these features allowed system manufacturers to offer high-performance, feature-rich notebook computers with extended battery lives. Speeds were gradually increased until they reached 150MHz in the summer of 1996.

PC Components | Processors (CPUs) | PC Data Storage | PC Multimedia | PC Input/Output | Communications | Mobile Computing

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