Intel Sings Core2Duo's Praises

dual-core processor

And while much of the buzz around the chips, formerly known by the code names Conroe and Woodcrest, has been focused in the enterprise, Intel officials say smaller businesses will be beneficiaries of the new technology as well.

"Small businesses want to act small and look big," said Shirley Turner Intel's North American Channel Marketing Director. Turner, speaking to a packed house on the first day of CMP's XChange Conference '06 in St. Louis, said the improved power in Intel's line of 65-nanometer-process chips gives all businesses the ability to integrate sophisticated security, data integrity, and management applications. "This gives them the tools to compete," she said.

The latest dual core products from Intel—specifically the VPro series for the desktop, the Bensley platform for servers and the next-generation Centrino Duo chips for mobile laptops—offer increases in performance from 40 to 70 percent. In addition, the line offers double-digit decreases in the amount of power needed to fuel and cool the chips.

The performance metrics led Turner to pose a rhetorical question to the XChange attendees: "Why do you care about this? Have you seen your energy bills?"

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And to those who questioned the new Core2Duo's fit with upcoming Microsoft OS revs, Turner had a clear retort. "This sucker is Vista ready," she said. "We worked long and hard with Microsoft to make sure of that... just in case any of you have heard otherwise."

Performance and cost savings aside, Turner made her strongest case for the Core2Duo's ability to move VARs into new and profitable markets. The dual-core chipsets' ability to to allow on-board management applications will drive new growth in the fledgling managed services market, she said. "MSPs are really coming into their own. This is an exciting business model that will help small business play big.

Moreover, the new Centrino products, along with Intel's two-year "Verified by Intel" effort to standardize whitebook components is giving that space a boost.

"A lot of you have been trying to make headway in whitebooks," said Turner. "You came to us and said you needed help. We got with the OEMs... got aggressive with pricing. Whitebooks have always been a tough nut to crack, but we're now on the verge of something really cool."

Turner said the VBI program has made whitebook parts cheaper and more swappable, if not exactly more readily available. "We're not perfect yet... but you should see a lot more spares soon and inventory increasing," she said.

"If you are going against Dell, [VBI and the new Centrinos] allow you to have a competitive offering," Turner said. "If you got out of whitebooks before because you found it too difficult, I urge you now to go back and try again."

Turner addressed Intel's infamous problems with feeding the channel with sufficient supply once products are rolled out. "These things are all shipping right now as we speak. Give it a couple of weeks and you are going to see a lot of availability from your distributors," Turner promised. "We know we haven't always made it easy on you with availability."

Turner made Intel's case for the new chips in desktop, server and mobile environments, backed by a troupe of enthusiastic—if occasionally cringe-worthy—dinner-theater actors hamming their way through skits about laptop superheroes and server farms in hell. Turner herself, despite being hampered with laryngitis, managed to cap the presentation by taking the lead of a four-part-harmony doo-wop group to literally sing Intel's praises.

Even if muted, her tune resonated with attending solution providers.

"I feel very strongly about what I've heard here," said Michael Kraner, CEO of Primary Support in New York. "This is a necessary step. For my clients, speed and efficiency equals productivity, so they will want to leverage the benefits Intel presents, especially in light of the upcoming move to Vista.

"I feel bad for users that upgraded before the new Intel products were introduced," Kraner said. "In terms of power savings and productivity, I think these new processors will pay for themselves."