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 30 January 2005
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Intel Centrino Overclocking Guide
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Intel Centrino Technology

Centrino is actually just a branding programme notebooks that use a combination of three core components from Intel :

      • Intel Pentium M processor
      • Intel i855/i915 chipset
      • Intel PRO/Wireless module

Although many people have associated Centrino with the Pentium M processor, that's not true at all. A notebook can use the Intel Pentium M processor and yet not qualify for the Centrino brand name. That's because for a notebook to qualify as a Centrino notebook, it must use all three Intel components.

Although based on the Intel Pentium III, the Pentium M processor is a very fast processor that's specially designed for mobile applications. MHz for MHz, it's actually much faster than the Pentium 4M, while consuming less power and producing less heat. Little wonder why this is the favourite processor of many road warriors.

The Centrino programme started off with the Banias platform with the Banias processor (1MB L2 cache), the i855PM/GM chipset and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 wireless module. A year later, Intel introduced an upgrade to the Banias platform with the new Dothan processor with a larger 2MB L2 cache, the i855GME chipset and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 wireless module.

Recently, Intel launched the latest evolution of the Centrino programme with the introduction of the Sonoma platform as well as the Intel i915 Express chipset. This completes the move to the 533MHz front side bus and unleashes the Dothan processor's full potential. For more information on the new Sonoma platform, take a look at our review of Sonoma and two new Sonoma notebooks.

 

Overclocking Centrino

Due to their proprietary nature, notebooks have so far eluded attempts at overclocking. Except for isolated cases of hardcore overclockers cracking open notebooks and physically modding the motherboards, notebooks have so far been safe from the overclocking craze.

It's impractical, if not hard, to open up notebooks to gain access to the motherboard. Even if you do break into your notebook, you wouldn't have a clue where to start. After all, many notebook manufacturers use proprietary motherboard designs.

In addition, notebook BIOSes seemed to be designed to frustrate the overclocker or tweaker. Only a bare minimum of BIOS options is usually available to the user. Thinking of hacking the BIOS? Well, you may succeed in enabling some hidden functions but nothing that can help you overclock the processor or anything else.

However, today, we would like to present a guide on overclocking Centrino notebooks. Yes, believe it or not - Centrino notebooks are overclockable! For this, we have our forum member raz to thank! Without raz, we would not be aware of this possibility.

It is surprisingly easy to overclock. But as you will see, not always successful.

 

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