Intel makes quiet play for the lounge

Flanked by local and multinational computer manufacturers, Intel last week launched a new dual-core processor and associated platform, designed to enhance the home entertainment capacity of PCs, by making basic processing quieter and more energy efficient.

Working in conjunction with the 945 Express Chipset family, the Dual-Core Pentium D processor will facilitate multiple audio, video and gaming streams to be routed to different machines from a single Internet connection.

"The dual-core processing makes it possible to play computer games, edit photos or videos and watch TV all at the same time," Intel general manager, Philip Cronin, explained. "The platform also offers more support for RAID technology to improve storage options, and brings down the price points for these types of systems."

Accompanying Intel's launch were major international brands like IBM, Dell and HP - all keen to throw their caps into the emerging digital consumer electronics arena. Not to be outdone, local computer manufacturers such as Ipex, Altech, Omega and Computer Alliance were also in attendance.

According to national sales manager for local tech distributor and manufacturer Altech Computers, Kevin Hartman, the dual-core release will provide an added impetus for the consumer entertainment market in Australia.

"The dual-core product divides system requirements across the two processors, which means you can get a higher performance from lower speed CPUs - which results in less heat, less air needed to cool the system and therefore less noise," Hartman explained. "Because the system is quieter people will be more likely to put it in their lounge rooms."

Controversially, the new platform is also designed to support digital rights management (DRM), an anti-piracy feature which currently operates through Microsoft's Media Player software. Intel's Cronin would not explain how the feature might function, except to say it could not be applied retrospectively to files created without DRM restrictions.

"Consumer electronics continues to be a very small proportion of the overall market," Cronin said. "I wouldn't want to predict what kind of growth we are going to see in the sector, but it won't be a market you can ignore."

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