Intel to launch vPro bundle for business desktops

Intel claims its vPro package cuts IT maintenance costs, provide high security and better energy efficiency.

Seeking to repeat its success with the Centrino platform for notebook PCs, Intel said Monday it will launch vPro, a collection of hardware and software services based on its new Conroe processor for business desktops.

Conroe is the desktop version of the three new 64-bit, dual-core chips that Intel hopes will reverse its slide in market share compared to Advanced Micro Devices. Conroe is not due out until the third quarter, but Intel announced vPro now to give vendors time to build it into their PCs.

The vPro package will deliver three benefits: low IT maintenance costs, high security and better energy efficiency, said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, at a press conference in San Francisco.

It will achieve that by combining hardware and software features, just as Centrino does. The new package will include a Conroe processor, new chipset, management and virtualization technology from Intel, and security services from Symantec.

A desktop running the vPro package will incur lower IT maintenance costs than other PCs by ensuring that IT staffers can solve most of its computer problems remotely, Intel said.

Already, network administrators can solve 87% of typical business desktop problems remotely, Otellini said. But the few remaining problems that require personal "desktop visits" generate almost half the maintenance cost for a typical company.

"IT spending is problematic," Otellini said. "A typical shop spends 89% of its IT budget for day-to-day maintenance, and only 11% on new capital investment, which is crucial to stay competitive in business."

Put another way, IT departments used to be able to pay for four years of maintenance with the same amount of money they would spend on a new PC. Today that equation has flipped, so annual maintenance now costs twice the price of a new PC, he said.

Intel can use vPro to compete for a bigger share of business spending in both maintenance and hardware.

"In recent years, the notebook has seen great evolution, but the good old desktop has not," Otellini said. "But the desktop still has an enormous installed base; desktops are more than 70 percent of all PCs sold, about 85 million units per year."

Intel plans to put a small vPro sticker on each desktop, just as it labels notebooks with Centrino stickers today.

Intel plans to deliver vPro in 2006, with a road map to add three improvements by 2007: spread it from desktops to notebooks; upgrade the processor from a dual-core to quad-core chip; and extend virtualization from the processor to the hard drive and I/O channels.

This story, "Intel to launch vPro bundle for business desktops" was originally published by IDG News Service .

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