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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.