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Intel updates vPro for desktops

New features of the processor include better security, management and energy savings.

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel is expected to release the next generation of its vPro processor for business desktop PCs on Monday.

The updated processor--an Intel Core 2 Duo and Q35 Express chipset--includes the Trusted Execution Technology feature, known under its code name LaGrande, which was initially announced in 2002.

TXT, as it is now known, is aimed at IT professionals who manage virtual computing environments. It's security for hardware that tries to pick up where security software can be more vulnerable to attacks. It's intended to keep data in one operating system compartment from being accessed by software in another.

General Dynamics, one of the hardware companies using vPro, demonstrated a scenario in which a government employee can keep his classified work separate from his unclassified work using the updated chip.

In general, more businesses are trying to control what workers can and can't do on their work-issued PCs, and the updated processor from Intel, formerly known as "Weybridge," is intended to aid businesses in that. The first round of vPro chips were released in the fall of 2006.

The new vPro also has improved System Defense Filters, which can monitor more potential threats to a business' network traffic, and an updated Intel Active Management Technology, which allows IT to scan and fix a PC that's crashed or is powered off. By allowing repairs and such to be done while a PC is off, Intel says it will aid businesses in meeting Energy Star requirements by lowering energy consumption.

Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, among others, are offering Intel's updated vPro processor in their lineups of business PCs.