Intel urges businesses to undergo AI PC facelift with vPro update

You know you want to throw out that Windows 10 fleet

Intel would really like businesses to buy some new PCs, and is unveiling its latest vPro platform with an exhortation for them to refresh their fleet now in order to be "AI ready."

Announced at MWC 2024, we're told that the latest iteration of Intel's corporate vPro platform brings the benefits of the AI PC to commercial laptop customers, in case anyone was in any doubt that every PC will soon be an AI PC, whether you like it or not.

In addition, the Santa Clara chipmaker extended its commercial portfolio with more 14th Gen Core processors to power a range of desktops and entry-level workstations.

Intel's vPro is a business-grade platform with built-in features for management, security, and connectivity. Since 2022, this has been split into a vPro Essentials package aimed at SMEs, and the full-blown vPro Enterprise.

The latest update includes the Core Ultra processors that debuted in December, the headline feature of which is Intel's insistence that they have an AI-optimized architecture with a new neural processing unit (NPU) to accelerate certain tasks.

"For commercial end users, Intel Core Ultra-powered AI PCs will deliver leadership performance, step function increase in power efficiency, and the new AI experiences. For IT organizations, our new vPro platform will continue to raise the bar across productivity, security, manageability and stability," David Feng, VP of Intel's Client Computing Group and general manager of Client Segments, said in a statement.

With the new processors, Intel said it expects customers to see gains of up to 47 percent in office application productivity over a three-year-old PC.

"We understand there is a large installed base of Windows 10 PCs, that are ready to refresh, and Intel vPro will help IT ensure there is a smooth transition," Feng said, making it clear that the chipmaker really would like you to buy some new kit.

New features in vPro include enhanced Intel threat detection using the NPU to improve the efficiency of anomaly detection, said Feng. A new Silicon Security Engine also enables hardware-based authentication of system firmware to safeguard against threats that attack below the level of the OS, he added.

Device Discovery, which enables management tools to collect data to inform device management decisions is also new. According to Intel, this is delivered via the Intel Innovation Platform Framework, described as a client-resident interface based on JavaScript Object Notation that incorporates plug-ins for various Intel platform features.

As with other vPro iterations, platform stability for corporate IT departments is another goal, and Intel said its intention is for there to be zero platform changes for 15 months after release.

However, it appears that the all-new AI PC experience is only coming to mobile vPro systems at the moment, and the desktop portfolio is currently stuck with the 14th Gen Core processors. Feng said during a media Q&A that Intel will bring Core Ultra to vPro desktops sometime in the future.

The new 14th Gen Core processors for desktops and entry-level workstations are detailed in the table below.

Lenovo has already announced its systems with the Core Ultra processors and Intel vPro at MWC 2024 yesterday. ®

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