Centrino update focuses on IT management

NEW YORK – With the launch of its latest Centrino processor, Intel Corp. is emphasizing what the set of chip technologies can do, instead of how fast its flagship Core Duo 2 can run on business and consumer notebooks.
Code named Santa Rosa, Intel executives on Wednesday said the Duo and Pro platforms include such features as the 965 Express chipset, Clear Video, wireless LAN with next generation 802.11 N, optional turbo memory, manageability and security.

More than 230 Centrino Duo and Pro designs have been produced for tier-one PC vendors, original design manufacturers and system builders. IBM, HP and others announced Centrino-based systems on Wednesday.

The main difference from the initial Centrino platform four years ago and Santa Rosa is the ability of the chips to run multiple applications simultaneously, such as downloading video while performing a virus scan.

“The world is turning mobile increasingly since 2003. We saw that inflection point back then, when the world started looking for laptops with desktop features. It has gone from strength-to-strength and when you at look at 2010, around the world it is forecast that 50 per cent of PCs sold will be mobile. That is a huge difference from a few years ago,” said Don MacDonald, vice-president of marketing for Intel.

Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, an analyst firm based in Wayland, Ma, said that Intel, with the launch of the Santa Rosa platform, has improved from an IT management perspective.

“To me, the most important aspect is how you manage this stuff. From the Pro platform end of things, if you are an IT manager you can talk about the entire fleet now because in the past only half of it could be managed. If a user’s notebook broke down while on the road, the IT manager let him sit there unless it was the CEO,” Kay said.

He added that notebooks will join the server area as mission critical equipment, especially with security concerns and compliance requirements.

“It will be more important to manage the entire fleet for IT managers in the future. If they don’t they will have liability, service and expense issues,” Kay said.

The new Centrino lines will also have Active Management Technology that will provide wireless PC management, protection and repair work such as wireless remote diagnostics and repair capabilities, while the security features include system defense and hardware-based isolation and recovery.

MacDonald said that with more laptops being sold, the issues shift from a capital cost perspective to an operational cost perspective.

“If you care about TCO and managing the laptops, companies will need a cheaper way to buy and manage laptops. So we built into the chip hardware technology with agent presence, system defense, remote remediation and hardware and software tracking,” MacDonald said.

With the Core Duo 2 and Pro, Intel claims it will reduce the time needed to update security on notebooks by 84 per cent. “If the notebook becomes infected, IT can isolate it and be contacted remotely for self correction,” MacDonald added.

Turbo Memory, which is optional, is intended to speed up application lunch and run times.

It uses flash memory in increments of 512 and 1 gigabyte along with some software drivers.

According to MacDonald, the chip has two cores and applications today do not take advantage of both cores. What happens is if one core is not being used it will go into a sleep state, but in the meantime the other core will have an extra bin that will increase the rate of speed. So in essence it is turbocharged.

“The product is not only faster but smarter. We have the ability to turn off parts of the chip same as a house that knows when to turn the lights off if the kids are not in their rooms,” MacDonald said.

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