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MWC 2024: Intel adds AI processors, launches the new vPro platform

Intel yesterday launched its commercial line of Intel Core Ultra processors featuring NPUs (neural processing units) to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) at MWC Barcelona 2024. The processors, whose consumer versions were announced in December, include the new Intel vPro platform that the company said, offers productivity gains as well as enhanced security and new manageability features.

This year, Intel said in a release, partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell Technologies, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft Surface, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung and VAIO will deliver more than 100 notebook, 2-in-1, entry, and workstation designs using the technology.

Compared to a three-year-old PC, users can expect up to 47 per cent better productivity with office applications, noted Jen Larsen, general manager, commercial segments at Intel, during a briefing, up to 36 per cent processor power reduction vs the previous generation for video conferencing, and up to 2.2 times AI performance, gen over gen, for video editing.

Intel has been working with the application software ecosystem to optimize performance even more, added Carla Rodriguez, vice president and general manager, client software ecosystem.

“On the productivity side, we’ll work with players like Teams, Zoom, etc. so that there’s a better collaboration experience – many things that we take for granted today [like background blur and noise cancellation],” she said. “But the reality is, that’s only possible through the unlocking of that hardware benefit with software applications.”

On the security front, Intel has designed its threat detection technology to take advantage of the NPU to improve performance while freeing the CPU for other tasks and reducing power consumption. A new Intel Silicon Security Engine, for example, authenticates system firmware. Larsen said that Intel has enabled some ISVs (independent software vendors) to make use of the NPU, but not in isolation.

“We have this xPU strategy; we have a CPU, a GPU and an NPU, and they’re able to leverage all of them, depending on what the workload looks like.”

Manageability is a key feature of vPro and, the company said in a release, it has added more to the platform to help IT departments manage their fleets. These include:

Intel Device Discovery – a new way for cloud-based tools to receive the information they need to take appropriate actions on a given PC.

Intel Device Health with VMware and Eclypsium – helps IT organizations gain visibility into fleet patching requirements and deliver end-to-end device management.

Intel noted that it also “continues to invest in hardware-based remote management, both for on-premises solutions leveraging endpoint management technology and cloud-native (offerings) like VMware Workspace ONE.”

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