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Revised vPro gains new "Bearlake" Q35 Express chipset and features

Intel today updated its vPro business desktop platform for the first time since its introduction last September with the new Weybridge platform. The revised vPro includes a new Bearlake family chipset – the Q35 Express. Intel touts enhanced security against hacking and viruses with the updated vPro.

Intel’s new vPro platform features Trusted Execution Technology, or TXT. Intel TXT provides enhanced data protection in virtualized environments. Intel pairs the new TXT technology with an updated virtualization technology – Intel Virtualization Technology, or VT, with Directed I/O. The updated Intel VT provides hardware-based memory isolation to prevent virtualized environments from causing problems with other environments.

"Today, the business desktop PC just got more secure," said Robert B. Crooke, vice president and general manager of Intel's Business Client Group. "This generation of Intel vPro processor technology arrives with new security and management capabilities along with support from every leading PC manufacturer and software solution vendor in the world."

Weybridge also features update to Intel’s Active Management Technology, or AMT. The new Intel AMT 3.0 technology allows system administrators to remote manage a desktop without being in an operating system.  

The new Q35 Express supports Intel Core 2 Duo and Pentium D processors with front-side bus speeds up to 1333 MHz. Intel pairs the Q35 Express chipset with DDR2 800 memory support. DDR3 memory is unsupported on Q35 Express, unlike the consumer P35 and G33 Express variants.

Intel packs the Q35 Express with Graphics Media Accelerator, or GMA, 3100 integrated graphics. The GMA 3100 features support for DirectX 9.0c with Shader Model 2.0. The graphics core is also compatible with Microsoft’s Windows Vista Aeroglass.

Expect manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo and others to ship Weybridge-based vPro systems.

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By crystal clear on 8/28/2007 2:42:24 AM , Rating: 3
Intel is also offering what it calls an embedded trust agent in the platform, which will not only support the IEEE 802.1x standards, but is also certified by Cisco for its Network Admission Control. The agent is not dependent on operating system availability and will continue to work and manage the PC whether the desktop is shutdown or the OS has been disabled, without lowering the network security.

This vPro development will allow for greater out-of-band management abilities, such as remote power control and diagnostic testing, even if the operating system has failed while maintaining network authentication.

The fact that Cisco is now on board with vPro shows what Intel is trying to do with the brand. Specifically, the company is trying to get third-party vendors and ISVs to build on top of its platform instead of Intel trying to develop proprietary standards on its own, Kay said. In addition to Cisco, Symantec is developing security features for vPro, while Altiris was tapped to offer a management agent.

(Just before the vPro launch this week, a spokesperson for Symantec admitted that its Virtual Security Solution for vPro, which integrates the company's NIPS (Network Intrusion Prevention Security) engine with Intel's virtualization technology, does not yet have an official shipping date.)

"From Intel's perspective, they don't want to get into the application side of it," Kay said. "They want to get the application vendors to come in and let them work on top of the platform … Security is a layered concept."

In a demonstration for journalists and analysts, Bryant said part of the purpose of vPro is to provide the hardware hooks for third-party vendors and ISVs to build applications for a host of issues, such as security and enterprise-wide PC management,1895,2175083,

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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