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Intel plans to beef up business desktops

Chipmaker says new platform technology--to accompany Intel's Conroe chip--can make boring old desktops more interesting.

SAN FRANCISCO--Business PCs haven't been the most exciting part of Intel's product plans over the last few years, but several new technologies will reinvigorate interest in the staid systems, according to Intel executives.

Averill PCs, planned for the second half of the year, will be capable of receiving support from a remote technician in the event of a hard-drive failure or hardware problem, said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.

IDF Spring 2006

The PCs will also come with hardware support for virtualization software and a dramatic improvement in processor performance compared with Intel's current dual-core desktop PCs, Gelsinger said during a keynote address at the Intel Developer Forum.

With the release of Conroe, a new dual-core processor based on the company's new Core microarchitecture, and the 965 chipset, Intel will have a much better performance story in Averill compared with its older technology for business PCs, said Rob Crooke, vice president and general manager of the business client group.

Averill "is the biggest leap forward for us in end-user capabilities and capabilities for the IT manager that we've seen in five years," Crooke said.

Intel expects a 40 percent improvement in Conroe compared with the company's current Pentium D 900 series processors, Gelsinger said in the morning keynote. That performance, combined with enhancements to the 965 chipset's graphics technology and virtualization, will make Averill PCs capable of supporting Microsoft's Windows Vista when corporations are ready to upgrade, he said.