Intel announces Core vPro processors

Adds even more confusion

HERE WE GO again, Intel has come up with yet another nifty marketing name, Core vPro. These are not only Intel’s ‘new’ processors for businesses of all sizes that add a host of features, but they’re also said to gain cost savings.

There’s actually no such thing as a Core vPro processor, instead we’re talking about Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 processors here, paired up with Intel’s business oriented Q57 chipset. The system is also required to use Intel’s 82577LM or 82578DM Gigabit Ethernet controller depending if it’s a notebook or a desktop. Intel’s Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 or Centrino Advanced-N 6200 and the Centrino Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 wireless solutions are also part of the overall package in notebooks.

The new and improved vPro technology for 2010 adds a new security feature that goes under the name of Intel anti-theft technology 2.0 which adds various layers of encryption and allows the system to be locked down if it would be lost or stolen. The good news is that if the machine is recovered, it can be restored back to its original working with all the data intact.

A feature that is likely to go down well with help desk staff is Intel’s new KVM remote control which allows for full remote control of a system, even if the OS isn’t working. Intel has also integrated remote power on and off which should potentially be able to save big companies money on electricity if configured properly. You do of course get all the other usual features that the consumer models feature thrown in as well, such as Hyperthreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization.

Intel has also developed a workstation platform with a new chipset that goes under the name of 3450 that specifically relies on the Core i5 processors with on-die graphics. Intel is targeting this platform to both SMB’s and enterprise users with the key selling points being low cost, lower power usage, reliability and great performance for the market segment. We’re not sure that Intel’s HD graphics will cut it for more advanced users, but Intel has been give the thumbs up by both Adobe and Autodesk as well as some other unnamed software vendors.

The scary thing with all this remote control of the new vPro platforms is that the IT department will have full control over your notebook and you no longer have a say. Install an application that isn’t approved and they’ll know about it and will be able to remotely uninstall it. Lose your job and your notebook will stop working that instant. Email someone or something that isn’t approved and someone somewhere in your company will most likely know about it. So ok, this might be taking things to the extreme, but considering the way some corporations are going these days, we wouldn’t put it past them.

It’s slightly amusing to watch Intel’s launch videos where it compares brand new Core i5 notebooks with three year old Core 2 based notebooks and somehow the Core i5 ends up being up to 3.5 times faster. It doesn’t really take a genius to figure out that a computer from three years ago isn’t going to stand a chance against a brand new one, but maybe this is Intel’s way of hinting to the big corporations that it’s time to upgrade their notebook inventories.S|A

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