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Intel Business PC Line Won't Include Dual-Core Processors This Year

The business-PC platform includes only technologies that have been validated, and the chipmaker promises it will remain stable and unchanged for the next 12 months.
Expanding on its promise of delivering platform-level products, Intel later this month plans to unveil its 2005 Professional Business Platform that will serve as its volume-driver for business desktop offerings for the next 12 months.

The business platform adopts some newer innovations such as active-management technology, but leaves advancements such as dual-core processors and built-in virtualization engines for next year's platform.

The latest introduction also is part of what Intel has calls its Digital Home and Digital Office Initiative, "which is about delivering new kinds of value to the marketplace beyond gigahertz," says Gregory Bryant, general manager for Intel's digital office platforms division.

Intel's platform push began with the success of its Centrino platform for mobile computing in 2003, and picked up steam earlier this year at its Spring Developer Forum when the company said it intended to create additional platforms to address key market segments.

"It's not just about the components," Bryant says. "It's about putting the components together in the best platform we can to deliver manageability, security, performance, and headroom."

The Professional Business Platform will combine a 600-series Pentium 4 processor with hyperthreading technology, a 945G chipset, PRO/1000 PM desktop adapter, and active-management technology.

Active-management technology is part of what Intel has called its embedded IT initiative, technology improvements built inside the processor or chipset that provide enhanced security and manageability features, Bryant says.

With active-management technology embedded as a microengine in the chipset, network administrators can monitor and remotely manage PC systems even when damaged as long as they remain connected to the network, he says.

"It's really about reducing the number of desktop visits and the number of times you have to send a technician out to work on a PC," Bryant says.

Speed-step technology will be included in the platform. It was initially used within the Centrino platform to help control power dissipation, and now has been extended to the desktop platform.

The new platform will meet requirements for Intel's Stable Image Platform Program, which promises users that technology adopted in a platform product has been fully validated and will remain stable for at least the next 12 months.

Ensuring that stability is why Intel's latest 800 series dual-core processor technology, introduced last month, and embedded virtualization technology are not included in this platform, Bryant says. He believes those technologies should be part of the 2006 Professional Business Platform.

"These mainstream business customers are interested in a platform that's stable even though it may not have some of the latest technology," he says.

"It's clear we're bringing all the elements together, validating them, making sure they work with the ecosystem, and enabling a package that has clear benefits beyond just CPU performance. This is really the cornerstone to our strategy going forward," Bryant says.

Intel says the formal business platform announcement is scheduled for later this month, at which time it also expects to announce vendor endorsements.