Inside Intel’s latest generation processors

sandybridge

In all the recent talk of smartphones and tablets, let’s not forget the technology which will have most impact on businesses this year – the laptop and desktop PC.

Intel’s latest generation of Core processors, code named Sandy Bridge, have hit the market, for consumers and now for businesses. The business-focused vPro range are part of the reason Intel predicts, Sandy Bridge will drive $125 billion in revenue for PC makers this year.

And what will they do for your business? Well faster, more efficient processors, that are also more secure, will have a transformational impact on firms. A 2nd generation Intel® Core vPro i5 processor can speed up business applications by 60 percent, multitasking by 100 percent and data encryption 300 percent.

That’s a huge boost to performance for PCs.

The latest vPro processors also offer increased security, including a 3G poison pill. Previous versions of Intel’s Anti-Theft Technology let IT staff to send a coded “poison pill” over the net to completely disable a lost or stolen compute. It could also help prevent access to its encrypted data and deter theft.

Intel Anti Theft 3.0 technology enables the poison pill to be sent as an encrypted SMS message over a 3G network as well – all within moments of a missing laptop being turned on.

When recovered, the PC can then be re-activated with another message. Anti Theft 3.0 also offers new Locator Beacon capabilities giveing authorities the ability to pinpoint a missing laptop using GPS technology on select 3G modems.

Why is this important? Intel-commissioned research put the cost to a business of a lost laptop at an average of $50,000. And with the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK now issuing big fines (in some cases £100,000) for companies and organisations that do not encrypt or protect data – even on laptops that are stolen – then firms have to take security seriously.

The issue of computer security is one where good enough just isn’t good enough.

Intel is also introducing powerful new identity protection technology in vPro to help fight phishing attacks.

Identity theft is a growing global concern for consumers and businesses. To combat this, Intel’s Identity Protection Technology offers hardware-based, two-factor authentication.

In short, it’s an additional layer of security that links your PC to the online account, VPN or application that you select, decreasing the ability of thieves to access account information from non-associated computers.

It works using two-factor authentication embedded directly into the chipsets that work with select 2nd generation Intel® Core PCs.

One of the first applications of the technology has been Steam – the PC world’s gaming platform of choice. IPT is being used to protect the accounts of milllions of gamers on the service.

Tom’s Hardware Guide wrote:

“Account phishing and hijacking are our #1 support issues,” said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. “With Intel’s IPT and Steam Guard, we’ve taken a big step towards giving customers the account security they need as they purchase more and more digital goods.”

IPT generates a new numerical password every 30 seconds, integrating into the processor functionality that previously required a separate card or key fob. Users will be notified by Steam Guard if any PCs other than those authorized by them attempt to log into or modify their account settings. The new feature is now available to third parties to incorporate into their own applications through Steamworks, Valve said.

“We expect to see widespread adoption of hardware-based security like Intel IPT by other service providers,” said Doug Lombardi, Valve’s Vice President of Marketing. “If as a customer you are buying movies, music, games, or digital goods, you want to know that they are more secure than your physical goods.”

Intel’s vPro technology is an important tool for businesses. Since it launched more than four years ago, the Intel Core vPro processor family is now being used by 71 percent of Fortune 100 companies, as well as leading OEMs and service providers.

You can find much more on Intel’s vPro technology here.

The launch has also been covered in the tech press:

The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/07/intel_vpro_2nd_gen_core/

The Inquirer: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2031780/intel-announces-vpro-xeon-e3-sandy-bridge-chips&rct…

ZDnet: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/processors/2011/03/07/intel-revamps-core-vpro-enterprise-chips-40092045/…

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Matthew Stibbe is writer-in-chief at Articulate Marketing. He is also an avid blogger, closet geek and HP fanatic.