Intel fleshes out new platform for desktop PCs

Intel is taking over more of the engineering inside desktops, and increasing the number of chips it sells there too.

Michael Kanellos
Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
2 min read
Starting later this month, Intel will try to further expand its influence over the architecture of business desktops by selling its chips in a more cohesive whole.

The Professional Business Platform (PBP) is a blueprint for business PCs based on Intel silicon, which, ideally, will let corporate customers wring more performance out of their PCs and at the same time make them easier to install and maintain, said Gregory Bryant, general manager of the digital-office platforms division at Intel.

For example, administrators will be able to remotely and rapidly remove an inadvertently infected PBP machine from its corporate network, thanks in part to a technology called Active Management Technology embedded in the PC's chipset. PBP-equipped machines also will feature a virtualization technology that will let a PC effectively function like two separate machines.

The platform-ization of Intel's products will allow the company to boost revenue by combining other chips with its processors and chipsets. Today, most business desktops come with an Intel processor and chipset. Many of these units also come with an Intel networking chip.

The new platform includes the networking chip as a standard part of the package.

The first PBP PCs will arrive when Intel releases the new chipset and networking chip later this month.

In the first part of the year, Intel reorganized itself to sell platforms rather than individual chips to its customers. By selling chips in pre-tested bundles, Intel can eliminate potential incompatibility between components while it also highlights features that might otherwise get overlooked, Bryant said.

Centrino, a notebook platform that includes a Pentium M processor, a chipset and a Wi-Fi chip, was one of Intel's first official attempts at selling chips in a platform. At the time, Intel had no market share in Wi-Fi and many believed that it would take a while before it could compete against established companies such as Broadcom. Observers also thought that notebook makers would continue to shop around for the best-performing Wi-Fi chips.

Now, more than 80 percent of the Pentium M notebooks come with the complete Centrino bundle.

Bryant wouldn't say what other elements or chips would be added to the platform, but he did note that Intel is looking at a number of options to add more features to the platform. Wireless chips, for instance, could be among the possibilities. Some of the priorities for PBP desktops will be to reduce security risks, increase manageability, improve collaboration, and improve performance for tasks such as data mining and search.

Unlike Centrino, the Professional Business Platform won't be sold under a snazzy brand name this year, although Intel is considering doing some branding next year.