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Monday, February 18, 2008, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Next-gen Intel notebook chips to exceed 3.0GHz

Intel this spring will launch its next-generation Centrino notebook platform alongside a half dozen new 45 nanometer mobile chips that will eventually make their way into Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro offerings.

The platform, long referenced by its code-name "Montevina," will be officially dubbed Centrino 2 when it makes its debut at the Computex Taipei 2008 conference, which runs June 3 - 7, according to DigiTimes.

Although Intel has used the Centrino brand name for four generations of its notebook platforms — Carmel, Sonoma, Napa and Santa Rosa — the unchanging brand name has reportedly resulted in lower market recognition, as consumers are sometimes unable to identify the differences.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker hopes the new marketing strategy will "give consumers the feeling of a tangible upgrade and will hopefully spur replacement demand," according to the report.

It will simultaneously deliver six new 45-nanometer notebook processors, running at speeds between 2.26GHz - 3.06GHz, all of which will sport a 1066MHz front-side bus, compared to today's models which scale up to 2.6GHz and operate on an 800MHz bus.

In addition, DigiTimes reports that Intel will then launch seven new 45-nm small form factor processors, like those used in Apple's new MacBook Air, sometime during the third quarter of the year.

The introductions should provide Apple with a means to refresh its mainstream MacBook and MacBook Pro family of notebook systems sometime during the summer educational buying season, and its MacBook Air sub-notebook line in time for the holidays.

Meanwhile, MacBook Pro models including Intel's just-released 45-nanometer Penryn processors — the last of the Santa Rosa generation — remain on tap for a release anytime in the next few weeks.