This week, Intel significantly boosted the performance of the Intel Centrino mobile microprocessor products with the introduction of new Intel Pentium M processors that feature faster clock speeds and system buses and larger cache sizes. The company also announced that it's canceling the development of two next-generation desktop-based microprocessors so it can concentrate on more powerful dual-core microprocessors. Both announcements are a boon for PC users because Intel pledges to keep up its recent pace of innovation and speed the development of its processors and related chipsets.

The new Pentium M designs, which are code-named Dothan, will ship this week in a variety of notebook computers and Tablet PCs. The Dothan family currently includes three new processors, all of which feature a smaller 90nm process (compared with the earlier-generation Pentium M chips' 130nm process), resulting in smaller sizes, less power consumption, less heat, and lower costs. However, because the new chips use the same socket design that the earlier-generation chips used, PC makers can immediately integrate the Dothan CPUs into their existing mobile computers.

The Dothan processors are also the first products to use Intel's new chip-naming conventions. The Pentium M processor 735, for example, runs at 1.7GHz and costs $294 per chip (in quantity). The other two models include the Pentium M processor 745, which runs at 1.8GHz and costs $423, and the high-end Pentium M processor 755, which runs at 2GHz and costs $637. The number 7 in these product names denotes the Dothan generation of chips, whereas the latter two numbers specify relative performance. The Pentium M processor 755, for example, has higher-level performance than the Pentium M processor 735.

Meanwhile, Intel also announced that it will halt development of the Tejas Pentium 4 and Jayhawk Xeon processors. Both CPUs featured single-processor cores, and the company says it will now concentrate only on dual-core processors, which feature increased performance. "We are reprioritizing and revamping our roadmap," an Intel spokesperson said. "This is a competitive move." Dual-core processors appear as two different processors to compatible OSs such as Windows and often perform as well as two separate processors, without the resulting costs, heat, and noise. Intel says it will ship next-generation, dual-core desktop and server processors next year