Intel Debuts Longhorn-Ready Platforms

Intel on Thursday formally introduced two new chipsets designed for home and office PCs. Intel's Professional Business Platform, or the 945G Express Chipset, bundles networking and advanced management technology, while the 945P includes consumer-oriented features such as advanced audio and video capabilities.

The dual-core 64-bit Intel Pentium D processor powers the 945P platform, allowing customers to perform two CPU intensive tasks at once. Intel's Professional Business Platform includes the Pentium 4 670, a new 3.8-GHz 64-bit processor, although some system builders plan to offer the Pentium D as well.

With processor speed becoming less of a marketing tool, Intel has turned its focus toward selling "platforms" that combine a processor, chipset and peripherals such as networking or audio capabilities.

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"We want to add more value beyond gigahertz," said Greg Bryant, general manager of Intel's Digital Office Platforms Division. OEMS including Dell and HP will manufacture systems built on the new 945 platforms.

The Professional Business Platform is aimed at IT administrators and introduces Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT) that aids in monitoring, installation of security patches and remotely diagnosing hardware problems. The 945G chipset also enhances power management, reduces noise and packs in new networking features.

On the consumer end, meanwhile, Intel has designed the Pentium D for simultaneous use scenarios in the "digital home." The 945P boasts 7.1-channel surround sound and multiple output jacks for sending audio to numerous devices around the home simultaneously.

Both 945 chipsets will feature Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950, which doubles 3-D performance and supports the latest high-definition displays. Intel says the technology was developed with Longhorn, the next release of Windows, in mind.

"Microsoft and Intel are working closely together to deliver a totally new experience for mainstream business computing," said Will Poole, Microsoft senior vice president for Windows.

The new Pentium D will be available in three speeds: 2.8 GHz, 3 GHz and 3.2 GHz. Pricing for the chips will be less than half of AMD's dual-core offerings, at $241, $316 and $530 USD respectively, in 1,000-unit lots. The single-core Pentium 4 670 at 3.8 GHz is priced at $851 USD.

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