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High-performance mobile computing for the Age of Vista

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Part 4. High-performance mobile computing for the Age of Vista
With challenges like displaying graphics that involve 3D processing and the simultaneous processing of multiple applications, Vista beckons an era that places more demand on computers than ever before. Employing a new platform and various ingenuities, the TOUGHBOOK Business-rugged 7 Series achieves in a mobile PC both high power and low power consumption.

Power that mobile computers need for the Age of Vista

Windows Vista, a powerful new OS (operating system) has arrived. Besides better security and effective searching, Vista provides a much more effective visual environment. While this makes the OS more easy and satisfying to use, it also places heavy demands on the hardware. Meanwhile, in pace with the evolution of the OS, applications are also being upgraded to use its features, and more and more 3D content is becoming available. In an era when round-the-clock Internet connections are usual, background virus checking and intrusion monitoring are simple facts of life. In short, even in a mobile computer, you now need graphics muscle and parallel processing capabilities.

To provide the power needed to operate in this new environment, the CF-W7, CF-T7, and CF-Y7 models are based on the latest Centrino platform (code name Santa Rosa). This new processor puts a great deal more performance in your hands.

Coupled with the mobile Intel® GM965 Express chipset, the new Centrino Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo - ultra-low voltage spec in the W7 and T7 and low voltage spec in the Y7 - is an excellent platform for mobile computing.

This new platform has enough built-in graphics capability to comfortably run Windows Vista and has been generally adopted by laptop computer makers. This increased performance, however, requires higher power consumption (which means faster battery run down) and greater heat generation (if the CPU is run at a high temperature for too long it will slow itself down). Power consumption and heat are a challenge to any mobile PC designer who aims to provide high performance and extended battery operation.

Three common approaches to the issues

First, you can treat mobile computing as an auxiliary task and ignore improved performance by rejecting the latest platform and opting to stick with an outdated environment (hardware and OS).

The second strategy involves accepting the trade off of shorter operating time as the inevitable consequence of advanced specifications: you give up mobility in order to use the latest platform.

Thirdly, you can seek a solution that enables use of the new platform by securing the required performance while avoiding the penalty of fast battery run down. In this approach you strive to match the performance of the latest computers while remaining true to the ideals of mobile computing.

As the leading maker of mobile computers, naturally, Panasonic has opted for the third way. Our solution was to work with Intel Corporation, the supplier of the Centrino, to jointly develop Dynamic Power Performance Management Technology (DPPM).

Joint development with Intel Corporation
Dynamic Power Performance Management Technology

As the name suggests, Dynamic Power Performance Management Technology is a means of dynamically controlling the amount of power consumed according to changing performance demands. Basically, rather than simply keeping the CPU forever at full throttle, electric current is finely controlled according to the tasks that the computer is performing. When there are no or low demands, the CPU just ticks over, but when there is fast and heavy work to be done, it works flat out to complete the task. Using the car as an example, the idea is similar to the careful driving techniques you can use to make each tank of fuel go further. In a mobile computer, DPPM conserves battery life and reduces heat generation.

Panasonic has long-standing expertise in the use of unique technology to achieve fine control of power consumption. It has proven possible to minimize power needs and reduce heat generation by combining Panasonic know-how with the technology of the company that developed the CPU and chipset, Intel Corporation. This close cooperation has paid off in technology that both supports high performance and enables energy-conserving operation.

Fitted with new compact, lightweight fan

Back in the days of the W5 and T5, because CPU performance was so much lower, it was not always necessary to even fit a cooling fan. To save power and ensure quiet operation, the W series and the T series could be designed without fans. Instead, to enable these fanless computers to carry out routine operations without a performance hit, innovative heat dissipation was implemented to ensure that heat was efficiently carried away. When the CPU heated up under heavy loading, the CPU clock speed was reduced once a certain temperature was exceeded in order to control the heat.

While it was possible to keep on using the machine for deskwork, under continuous heavy loading, system performance was usually decreased. While the Y series, which had a performance-oriented CPU, had a cooling fan to ensure extended heavy-duty use, with the adoption of the new platform, the W and the T series now also come with compact lightweight fans.

Despite being compact and lightweight, these fans generate a bit of noise. Because the previous fanless models had built up such a reputation for noiseless operation, it was necessary to take care in the new design to keep the fan quiet.

The first challenge when reducing the size of the fan was to make sure, despite the weight reduction, that it could push enough cooling air. Meanwhile, it was essential, too, that noise remained almost imperceptible during normal operation. Even so, to enable use in places like libraries, the computers also feature an original fan control utility for even quieter operation. This application allows you to reduce noise by turning down the fan speed.

The lightweight compact fan image

The lightweight compact fan fitted in the W7 and T7

The lightweight compact fan image

Compared with a normal-sized laptop fan (used in CF-52) shown on the left, you can see just how compact the new fan is.

Fan Control Utility

Fan control utility panel. You can set the fan to three levels: "Standard", "High speed", and "Low speed".

Hybrid cooling system enables high performance using DPPM technology and a compact lightweight fan

Combining active cooling with Dynamic Power Performance Management Technology, TOUGHBOOK Business-rugged are able to maintain high performance. The remarkable combination of these two methods ensures that you get the mobile power you need to enjoy the new computing platform.

Owing to the capabilities of the CPU and chipset, the new models running the new platform provide about 40% greater performance. Using the same control system that was used in the previous models, performance would be reduced by slowing down the clock speed during sustained heavy operation.

However, because the new TOUGHBOOK Business-rugged use DPPM technology and a small lightweight fan, you can use them for sustained heavy-duty computing.

Panasonic Hybrid Cooling System

Embodied in the 7 series, these unique technologies enable even compact, lightweight laptops to operate without loss of performance. You get a potent mobile PC with muscle to match the Age of Vista.

For further information about our products, how to purchase them and more, please visit the website of your region.

Specification and configuration may vary depending on country. Accessories may vary depending on your mobile PC configuration.
Specifications subject to change without notice.
Consult a Panasonic sales office near you for more details and availability of integrated options.

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