Intel will update its Centrino laptop package in January with a new processor and better graphics.
The update, called Santa Rosa Refresh, will replace Centrino's current processors with chips made using a 45-nanometer production process -- part of Intel's Penryn chip family -- instead of the 65-nm process now in use. The number refers to the average feature size that can be created on a chip and smaller is generally better.
The planned release of Santa Rosa Refresh is set to be announced Wednesday by Dadi Perlmutter, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group, during a scheduled speech at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.
Moving to a more advanced manufacturing process typically results in faster chips that consume less power. It also allows chip makers to reduce the size of the chip, either cutting unit production costs since more chips can be made on a silicon wafer or allowing new capabilities, such as a larger memory cache, to be added to the chip.
The Santa Rosa Refresh will also include the 965 Express chipset and support for Microsoft's Direct X10 technology.
This updated version of Centrino will itself be replaced in the middle of 2008 with a new version, called Montevina. This version of Centrino will also use a 45-nm processor but includes a new chipset that offers support for faster DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory.
Montevina will also WiMax as an option in addition to Centrino's customary Wi-Fi support.