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Intel Announces vPro Business PC Platform Availability

PCs built on vPro will offer a 50% increase in performance on base-level office applications and as much as twice the performance for processor-intensive applications compared to the existing Intel 2005 Professional Business Platform.

Intel on Thursday announced the availability of its vPro business desktop PC platform, its first for the market to use the recently introduced Core 2 Duo processor as well as provide embedded management and virtualization capabilities.

PCs built on vPro will offer a 50% increase in performance on base-level office applications and as much as twice the performance for processor-intensive applications such as content creation and digital media when compared to the existing Intel 2005 Professional Business Platform, says Mike Ferron-Jones, director of marketing for the Digital Office Platforms Division at Intel.

"This will really give businesses the horsepower to drive new usage models," Ferron-Jones says.

Intel announced the creation of the vPro brand in April, the latest in a series of branded Intel platforms that includes Centrino for laptop PCs and Viiv for consumer entertainment PCs.

The vPro platform is part of Intel's Stable Image Platform, in which the company promises not to change the system software stack and drivers for at least five quarters.

The new platform uses the dual-core Core 2 Duo processor, the Q965 Express chipset, and 82566DM Gigabit Network Connection. Integrated with the vPro platform are Intel's Active Management Technology and Virtualization Technology.

AMT, which is enabled through a microcontroller within the networking chipset, provides the hardware-based ability to handle a number of management tasks currently done with software tools. While software management tools generally require that the PC and its operating system be turned on and working, AMT continues to work even if a PC is off or shut down due to a failure.

The technology can be used to implement such functions as ongoing hardware and software inventory, or deployment of off-hours patches. AMT also can create a security agent on a system that isolates a PC from a network if a threat is detected.

VT can be used to create a virtual appliance running outside the operating system that can be used to monitor and manage security features such as licensing compliance and monitor the network for potential threats.

Intel also announced a number of software companies that have products optimized for vPro, including Abode, Altiris, CA, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Symantec.

The associated processor and chipsets for the vPro platform will be available today, and PCs based on the technology are expected from computer manufactures immediately, Ferron-Jones says.

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