Last summer, Intel launched our latest mobile computing platform, branded Intel Centrino 2 processor technology. For a long time as we were doing OpenSolaris development, I used to know this platform by its codename "Montevina", but that's all history now. Long live Centrino 2!
This new mobile platform has some great features, like a multi-core processor, great battery life, new graphics and wireless technologies.
I'm playing around with a Sony VAIO VGN-Z540, which has Centrino 2 processor technology. I recently loaded a predecessor to the upcoming OpenSolaris 2008.11 release. (Nevada build 101). Decided to see how things work with the new OS and the new laptop.
I'm happy to say that Centrino 2 really is working well with b101:
- The VAIO has two different graphics modes, marked "STAMINA" and "SPEED". When switched to STAMINA, it uses the built-in Centrino 2 graphics. This is working really well - compiz, the 3D desktop manager works really great. I love the Desktop Cube, and hope to show it off next week at Tech Days.
- Centrino 2 technology includes the latest 802.11ABGN wireless chip. Our new iwh driver is included in b101, and appears to connect well both at home and at work. (I need to go around to some coffee shops to check it out more). Note that 802.11A and 802.11N is not yet supported, but we're working on this.
- Power management is definitely improved in this release. In the last OpenSolaris release, 2008.05, the active power manager was pretty sluggish. For example, if you were at a low CPU load and suddenly started doing a lot of stuff on the CPU, the power manager would take a long time to switch the ACPI P-state up to P0. This means that it could take up to 15 seconds for the power manager to switch the CPU to full power. Similarly, the power manager was just as slow to drop the power use down when your utilization would drop. I'm happy to say that b101 switches the P-state very fast, as observed by Powertop v1.1, which is included in the release.
As always, there are things I wish were there, but are coming in a future release:
- We still have a lot of polling behavior in the OS and applications, again as shown in Powertop. When we tackle these, the battery life will extend even farther.
- Still need 802.11n and 802.11a. I have these radiating around my house, so it would be great to be able to take advantage of them.
- Hey, how do you play a movie DVD on OpenSolaris?
Happy Thanksgiving, all! Next time I'll talk about a few more of the OS features that I like.