Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Centrino 2 Is Flop Too

I'm still waiting on information about Penryn, Nehalem, and Shanghai for a desktop system. However, things couldn't be clearer for notebooks.

Back in 2006, Intel's Centrino platform had everything . . . except graphics. Even older games and graphic applications would bring a Centrino with its weak G965 graphics to its knees. More recently, Intel began pushing its Centrino 2 platform promising that the 45 series graphics would fix all everything. Intel brags that this platform has the most powerful mobile processor. That is all fine except Intel has come up short again in graphics. This was made pretty clear at

This is how Spore should look (you can click on the pics to open full size). Notice the ripples in the water, the shadows, and the fog in the distant background on this AMD based notebook.

Here is how Spore looks on Centrino 2. Notice the lack of ripples, shadows, and fog.

I'm guessing a lot of buyers aren't going to realize what a turkey Centrino 2 is until they try to run something at home. And, when that happens I doubt they will find much comfort in a good SuperPi score. Personally, I don't want a notebook that is left sobbing and wailing for mommy when faced with a grownup graphics challenge. Unfortunately, Centrino 2 fares just as badly with Second Life and The Sims. Pat says, "To me, playing Spore at high-quality would be the low bar game experience for a notebook you just plowed $699 to $1,599 into."

I couldn't agree more.


hyc said...

While I would agree that having competent baseline graphics is important, I'm afraid AMD is still coming up short for me. I don't play games at all on my machines, but I *do* like to watch an occasional movie, and at present there's no video decode acceleration for my laptops with ATI graphics running Linux. I think AMD/ATI have totally misdirected their priorities here, because the number of computer owners who like to watch movies is far larger than the number who play games. They claim it's a market issue, i.e., Windows has the majority of the market so that's where the driver resources go. But it's not a one-way street; if they had better Linux drivers there'd be more happy ATI video users on Linux. (Self-fulfilling prophecies and such - "Linux market is too small" therefore it will remain too small.)

Scientia from AMDZone said...


I know that ATI support for linux was lagging badly until they were bought by AMD. They didn't catch up to nVidia in terms of linux support until late in 2007.

If memory serves, the Catalyst 8.10 driver uses XvBA to accelerate decoding of H.264, VC1, and MPEG-2 formats. However, this only works if you have a UVD2 graphics card, meaning the 4000 series. There is still some hope that AMD will backport this to UVD graphics.

I can watch DVD's on my laptop even with its outdated Radeon 200M Express graphics. Are you saying that you can't even do this?

ViceUTB said...

Scientia... maybe a bit to late to comment .. but.. I have an Acer TM 5520. its a Turion X2 1,9GHz with 4GB of ram, 320gb hdd and ati mobility hd 2400xt (ram and hdd upgraded). While it runs 720p movies nicely in windows xp x64 and vista it still sucks ass in Ubuntu. I couldnt even get any movies to work without adding x11 in the terminal. Add to that normal SD videos will lag as soon as i have compiz fusion runing.

To sum it up. While AMD/ATi have come a long way, it still has alot of work to do on linux drivers.. especially when you compare it to intels drivers.