back to article Intel's Centrino notebook platform is 10 years old

Ten years ago, Intel decided notebook computers needed a boost. The technology wasn’t new, but while a fair few mobile workers had portable computers, and some even had modem cards or were using Bluetooth-connected phones to reach the internet, laptops weren’t seen as a truly mobile networkable device. And so the chip maker …


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  1. adnim


    that dispensed with cardbus32 drivers in Win 98 was welcome. Having to install PC card modems and PC card networking onto win98 laptops was a nightmare. It was rare that any two identical laptops would behave and install successfully the same way.

    1. Katie Saucey

      Re: Anything

      Agreed, and what was lurking, shaking you out of that MS nightmare? ME! Just as I thought my PTSD was under control you had to mention this.

  2. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I remember when working within schools IT dept at the time Intel had their advert with people surfing the web on top of a mounting which was very misleading as the schools head teacher had bought a centrino laptop on the assumption that it would somehow connect to the internet where ever they were and where disappointed to find out they actually needed to be in range of a WIFI hotspot which where few and far between and the school i worked at didn't have any at the time.

    1. Wheaty73
      Thumb Up

      Not sure why downvoted?

      I remember this marketing as well. Made people believe that they could connect anywhere. I had a devil of a time persuading them they still needed an internet connection.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure why downvoted?

        The typos may have had something to do with the down vote, but not from me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure why downvoted?

          Oh please how can someone be so pathetic, it's a forum for quickly commenting on an article. I could cry

          1. The Serpent

            Re: Not sure why downvoted?

            You must be new here

          2. Annihilator

            Re: Not sure why downvoted?

            "Oh please how can someone be so pathetic, it's a forum for quickly commenting on an article. I could cry"

            Over a meaningless voting system? Further perspective required.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you forgot these:


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A clean install of a modern Linux distro or even Windows 7 on a 2gb RAM, 1.5ghz Pentum M Laptop is not too shabby even today. I still have a spare one of these which gets some use. It might only have 802.11b, but that's more than sufficient for a little browsing.

    A good machine made in 2003 which has been set up well and has some minor upgrades is sufficient for the average user today - and that is a big problem for the IT industry. But not for the ahem, 'thrifty' consumer.

    1. Malcolm 1

      The main problem with old laptops is the batteries become worn out and are expensive (or impossible) to replace, rather than the performance (especially if you can fit an SSD and RAM upgrade).

      1. lemmac

        Although my original battery was nowhere near dead ( it had hardly been used, laptop big to carry around, saved that job for the 1000h eepc) i couldn't help buy another when i saw them selling (in copius quantities) on ebay for around £12. They are hardly difficult to get hold of and definitely not expensive. Still using the same Toshiba satellite m70 from 2006, upgraded cpu from 1.73 to 2.1 ghz for £8 just recently, another £8 for broadcom wifi N card. It is happily running both linux mint and win7 far better than it ever did xp.

      2. CherylWillBounceBack

        True enough. But once the batteries die any decent laptop from the last decade makes a good desktop replacement. Plug in 24" screen, keyboard and mouse and speakers you have quite a nice dual screen set up, or just plug it in in the kitchen for watching youtube/iplayer etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Uses for old laptops

          2 netbooks. (Both Centrino)

          One sits by the TV with the external hard drive full of media.

          The other sits by the setee, ready to synergy share the mouse and keyboard with the TV netbook.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "2 netbooks"

            Bit wasteful.

            The Centrino chipset was certainly revolutionary in terms of power consumption, but a wireless keyboard and mouse would be even better.

  4. jason 7

    Yeah its all in the upgrades.

    The CPU may still be willing but that 4200rpm IDE drive will have to go and the choices are getting limited.

    What I really love doing at the moment is when I get a customers laptop in that has a single core Celeron in it.

    You can pick up a 2Ghz dual core C2D for around a tenner, swap that in and you then have a customer for life. Often I don't charge them for it or just charge them the tenner. However, the improvement is so much they rave about it and refer you on to others. Its a worthwhile investment.

    Only problem is I'm stuck with a pile of Celerons......

    1. VaalDonkie

      Re: Yeah its all in the upgrades.

      I wasn't aware that you could swap out a single core for a dual core.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Yeah its all in the upgrades.

        Its largely down to what CPUs will run on the Intel chipset in the laptop. Sometimes the BIOS can kibosh it but mostly you can slip one in. You just check the Ask Intel pages on the web.

        There were a lot of cheap laptops sold as late as 2009/10 with single core Celerons in them. Nasty!

  5. Michael Jennings

    Of course, whether a laptop was "Centrino" branded was not the point.

    To put the "Centrino" branding on a laptop, it had to have a Pentium M processor, the Intel 855 Chipset that went with it, and a WiFi card using an Intel chipset. The Pentium M really was the goods - vastly better than anything else available for laptops at the time. One of the various variants of the 855 chipset was compulsory if you had a Pentium M. However, there were lots of alternatives for the WiFi card, many of which were as good or better than the Intel ones. So there were plenty of other Pentium M laptops which were just as good, but not Centrino branded. I think one reason that the brand faded before Intel withdrew it was that people realised this.

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Of course, whether a laptop was "Centrino" branded was not the point.

      Didn't even have to use the chipset,

      I had a 12" HP, the processor was pentium M and the wifi was intel but the chipset was from ATI which gave me half decent graphics.

      Also I think the centrino brand still exists if you buy a new core i whatever and it has intel wifi then it will be centrino branded. It's just that most laptops these days have different wifi so you don't see the centrino logo so much.

  6. jason 7

    I remember buying a AMD based laptop... 2005. It had a full blown Newcastle 3500+ A64 CPU in it.

    You could burn your thighs with it. Nothing like a full blown desktop CPU in a laptop.

    It got better when I put a Venice 4000+ in it....a bit. Centrino was the way for a good while.

    My dad still uses it today.

  7. Tiny Iota

    I was there...

    I was working for Intel on my Uni year in industry when Centrino came out. I still probably have a lot of the branded marketing guff if I dig around. For some reason we all wanted the Bunnymen (little toys of the protective-suited folks in the Fabs) rather than the mouse mats and whatnot. This doesn’t add much to the discussion I suppose but as I sit here in corporateland, its fun to reminisce about being paid like a proper worker but still getting to act like a student.

    **snaps out of nostalgic fuzz to remember we were not paid like proper workers, but booze money was still booze money**

  8. DanceMan
    Thumb Up

    Still using a Thinkpad X31 to carry to worksites, with a Pentium M 1.3, but upgraded with 2G ram and a wireless G card. Does the job for surfing and running a crew bill estimate on Excel. Got a battery from a dead X31 that lasts about a half hour when I'm away from power.

  9. Steve78

    My first Centrino branded laptop was a ThinkPad T40p. One of the best laptops I ever had! It had a 1.6GHz Pentium-M processor, 60GB 7200RPM drive & a 1400x1050 SXGA+ screen that put it above nearly everything else. It also had a ATI Mobility FireGL 9000 graphics chip which was more than decent for 2003. It was still going strong 7 years after I bought it before I sold it to a mate. He still uses it to this day.

    My modern day ThinkPad 420s is basically the same build quality with some subtle changes. These things are built to last.

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