Intel Pushes More Dual Core Out The Door

UPDATED: Intel’s next generation of dual-core chips for home and office PCs are front and center on the company’s new “platformization” strategy.

On Thursday, Intel unveiled its Pentium D dual-core processors designed to help consumers do more with digital media.

Snazzy new features include a media accelerator for improved 3-D graphics about two times over previous generations. It also makes it easier to bring TV shows, even two at a time, into your television, with personal video recorder features. Plus, it features improved support for RAID 5 and 10 levels for storage. The Pentium D processor features the 945 Express Chipset family.

“Dual core is really the next level up, with two full execution engines,” said Gerald Holzhammer, vice president of the company’s digital home group.

“It’s more than just processing capabilities. What you need is a balanced platform.”

The platform includes features that also protect against buffer overflows, one of the most common viruses computer users have to deal with.

For business users, Intel’s Professional Business Platform is focused on high-end applications and collaboration for voice over IP, as well as more data sharing among work groups.

That starts with the new business desktop platform, said Gregory Bryant, general manager of Intel’s Digital Office Platforms division.

The Professional Business Platform is based on the new 945G Express Chipset and the optional PRO/1000 PM network adapter. But in this mix the Pentium 4 processor is also bundled with the Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology1 600 sequence.

As for why Intel is rolling the Pentium D for mainstream consumers now, but not for its business platform, Bryant said the company feels that is the segment of the market that is ready.

“Realistically, IT shops need time” to prepare for major upgrades to processors. OEMs are also offering Pentium D-based processors for businesses, and Bryant said the group expects them to ramp up quickly.

“It’s for folks in the enterprise who need it the most for demanding business applications: analytics, collaboration,” for example, Bryant said of the business platform stack.

Intel views the business market it is selling into as three-tiered: a niche group of high-performance users; a more base level user; and a huge lump in the mainstream middle that needs stability and performance with their business applications.

The platform includes Intel’s much-ballyhooed Active Management Technology feature, a controller and agent that can, among other things, discover PCs on the network, even when they’re turned off for the night.

“Even if it’s in a bad state, you can boot remotely and fix it,” saving the company from having to call in IT staff at all hours of the day, Bryant said.

The two releases are also part of Intel’s stable platform program, which is designed to give IT managers and customers predictability in how their PCs are managed.

Several systems manufacturers will also offer dual-core-processor based PCs for businesses in addition to these offerings that are part of Intel’s Stable Image Platform Program, Intel added.

“We hold that platform stable for a year so IT shops can qualify their next platform,” Bryant explained. It offers the lowest cost, safest possible platform while IT customers prepare for the next generation of upgrades. “We think all of this is pretty compelling.”

Intel said the Pentium D 840, 830 and 820 processors are priced at $530, $316 and $241, respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities. Also, it has priced the Pentium 4 processor supporting HT Technology 670 at $851 in 1,000-unit quantities.

The Intel 945G and 945P Express Chipsets are priced at $42 and $38, respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities.

Major OEMs, such as Lenovo, Dell and Gateway, are supporting the product lines.

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