In the consumer space, CPU platforms are mostly about performance/price ratios, but enterprises have a different view of where value is, and that includes security.
That’s why Intel’s new vPro platform includes processors of course, but also system-level elements along with drivers, tests and certifications.
The new laptop processors are the Core i5-8365U (1.6GHz) and the Core i7-8665U (1.9GHz). When we met with Intel, they pitched how significant the upgrade could be if the user comes from a 3-year old laptop.
That’s true. A lot has changed since, and the compound speed increases are dramatic, especially since Intel doubled the number of cores in that timeframe. Also, modern features such as USB-C+ Thunderbolt 3 are incredibly convenient and reduce the need for proprietary ports.
For improved performance (faster than Gb Ethernet in theory) and security, WiFi-6 is the connection of choice. Interestingly, WiFi-6 is also more cost-efficient for new deployments because it can handle more users per station (enterprise routers). It is also a bit more secure with WPA-3 authentication.
Intel’s Hardware Shield is a new security feature that prevents hacks at the hardware and OS levels. Most attacks happen remotely, but in some situations, a hacker could bypass security measures if he/she can gain physical access to the computer. Hardware Shield is designed to prevent that.
Inside the PC, Intel includes storage powered by its Optane non-volatile memory technology. It’s a relatively big cache memory that can be used as a regular cache or can be controlled to “pin” specific apps that users want to load faster.
Coming from a 3-year old PC to this new platform can certainly be felt in terms of productivity since the overall perceived performance has improved by a wide margin. That’s particularly true if you run anything CPU intensive like complex calculations or graphics apps.
Intel has not communicated the price for these new chips because they are not retail products. In general, the vPro certification and value allows Intel to have higher margins, but with AMD’s Ryzen Pro competing for that space as well, perhaps the pressure is higher now.
Although vPro is an enterprise product, more and more consumers and freelancers are using vPro products, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, and benefit from the extra security, often without even knowing it.