Intel is doing an all-out media blitz to establish “Centrino” as a brand name that you know and love. Hey, it worked with “Pentium.”
Here’s an article that cuts through the advertising hype and the confusing names and features. Highly recommended if you’re considering a new notebook.
I can give you a quick summary.
The Centrino brand name isn’t important. What’s important is the processor. You want the “Pentium M.” You don’t want the “Pentium 4” or “Pentium 4-M” in your next notebook.
The reason is that the Pentium M processor takes advantage of a jillion cool tricks to deliver extended battery life. Your batteries will last two or three times longer than previous generations of notebooks, with no compromises.
The Pentium M notebooks are about $300 more expensive than non-Centrino notebooks. It’s worth it.
To get the official “Centrino” designation, the manufacturers have to use Intel’s 802.11b wireless card. It’s not terribly important if you get the Intel-sanctioned wireless card or if you opt for another wireless card and lose the “Centrino” label – as long as you get some kind of integrated wireless capability.