We have here one of the first Santa Rosa-based laptops to reach Indian shores, the Acer 6292, a 12.1 inch ultra-portable laptop. For those who are clueless, Santa Rosa is the code-name for Intel’s latest platform for laptops that was launched among much fanfare in Delhi on the 9th of May 2007. What is a platform you ask? Well, towards the end of the year 2003, Intel launched its highly successful platform Centrino. To get the Centrino certification and the logo (the one you see towards the right hand corner of the keyboard on the laptop), the manufacturer of the laptop had to include a Pentium M processor, an Intel motherboard and an Intel Wi-Fi card in the machine.
Last year, the Centrino platform took a huge stride forward with the introduction of the dual core processors code-named Yonah. The processors under Yonah are the Core Duo and not the Core 2 Duo (notice the 2 in between) processors that you see in the entry level laptops now a days. Core 2 Duo, launched later in the year, brought in a slight improvement in performance using the same amount of power and 64-bit support i.e. the ability to run a 64-bit OS like Vista (Vista comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions) and 64bit applications.
Now with Santa Rosa, there is a slight variation and for the first time there are two variants. This is how Intel terms it — Intel Centrino Pro processor technology and Intel Centrino Duo technology. Simply put, just two different variants based on the same platform. The Centrino Duo is consumer oriented and Pro is aimed at businesses with hardware-based security and wireless manageability of laptops.
With Santa Rosa you have a bag full of changes. The processor FSB that used to cap at 667 MHz with the Core 2 Duo Merom processors is now increased to 800 MHz. Then there are quite a few battery savings tricks. And finally among the most important introductions are Intel’s latest Mobile 965 chipset along with their new onboard graphic accelerator, GMA X3100, their latest Wi-Fi N module that caps at a theoretical 300 Mbps as compared to 54Mbps for it’s previous generation variant and finally Turbo Memory, a non volatile extended memory that accelerates boot and application load time’s and supports Windows ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive functions.
Let's leave the history session behind and get back to the review. As mentioned earlier Acer’s 6292 is based on Intel’s Santa Rosa platform and is based on the Centrino Duo processor technology but misses Intel’s latest Wi-Fi N module, the 4965AGN and instead uses their older GM3945ABG module that adheres to the a, b and g standards and caps out at 54 Mbps. Also missing is the Intel’s Turbo Cache Memory. Anyway, both the parts are optional and don’t disqualify the laptop from using the Centrino Duo sticker. We will speculate the reason for not including them later in the review. Let’s make our heads lighter and look at some eye candy, yea! The 6292 is neat and chic.
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