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vPro: Intel's latest all-in-one

Back in 2003, Intel had a great idea. Don't just sell a processor by itself. Instead, package it up with a chipset and wireless adapter.

This article appears in the December 06 issue of PC Advisor. Available now in all good newsagents.

Add a few extra technologies, come up with an all-encompassing name, then convince consumers of the simplicity of an all-in-one product. The result, of course, was Centrino. Intel has since repeated the idea with ViiV – its attempt to put an Intel CPU into every living room – and, now, with its business-geared vPro.

To be fair, a concept such as Centrino doesn't just reward Intel. Customers know that buying a Centrino-branded laptop will provide them with most of the functions of a desktop. They know that the Wi-Fi technology will work, that the CPU will probably be up to the job and that the battery is unlikely to run down as soon as the mains power is unplugged. Some might argue that the specifications worthy of the Centrino tag to a laptop are too vague and woolly. But buying a laptop is a minefield at the best of times and, as far as we're concerned, any attempt to clarify matters deserves praise.

That's why, for the majority of us who spend at least part of our day using a PC connected to a network, the birth of vPro could be a very good thing. The power of the internet is such that no business can over-protect its networked PCs. And vPro’s powerful security features will effectively isolate your PC from the others on the network. Virtualisation is an exciting feature that finds a practical use for dual-core CPUs – in effect using the second core to create a PC within a PC.

And vPro makes it much easier to work remotely with PCs rather than send them for repairs, according to IT firm Zenith Infotech. Such situations in a typical company account for 46 percent of the total PC support costs. With vPro those figures ought to be slashed. Read our first review here.

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