HP desktops will use vPro business bundle

HP is using streamlined IT management as a sales pitch for its latest line of PCs, including the first desktops to use Intel Corp.'s vPro technology bundle.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is using streamlined IT management as a sales pitch for its latest line of PCs, including the first desktops to use Intel's vPro technology bundle.

A computer running the vPro bundle uses software and hardware -- including Intel's new "Conroe" Core 2 Duo processor -- to automate some aspects of IT management and network security. Intel plans to formally announce the platform Thursday, as companies such as Lenovo Group also start selling vPro-enabled desktops.

HP got a jump on its competition, particularly arch-rival Dell, by unveiling its new business line first. HP announced three new desktops, a workstation and six notebooks during a press conference Wednesday in New York City.

Only the desktops offer the vPro option, while the other new PCs take advantage of the flurry of chips launched in recent months, including Intel's "Merom" Core 2 Duo for the notebooks and a choice of Intel's "Woodcrest" Xeon 5100 or Advanced Micro Devices's (AMD's) "Rev. F" Next-Generation Opteron for the workstation.

HP promised to make life easier for the IT managers who maintain these machines by pre-loading its OpenView Configuration Management agent on all commercial notebooks, desktops and workstations. That product has been an option in the past.

OpenView will bolster Intel's Active Management Technology, an ingredient of vPro, allowing IT managers to make fewer time-consuming "desk-side" visits by booting and repairing PCs remotely, said John Snaider, HP's vice president for desktop PCs.

Other business-friendly enhancements on the desktops include Trusted Platform Model (TPM) 1.2 security chips, a second hard drive for real-time data backup, and a virtual partition on the hard drive for encrypting sensitive data, said Brian Schmitz, director of desktop product marketing for HP.

In contrast to its concentration on Intel-powered desktops, HP is selling the new xw9400 workstation as the AMD-powered peer of its xw8400 model. AMD-based PCs account for about one-third of HP's high-end workstation sales, since they are able to run certain Nvidia graphics cards that Intel cannot handle, said Jeff Wood, HP's director of product marketing for workstations.

HP is selling the dc7700 desktop for US$643, plus a premium for the vPro option. The company will launch the dc5700 and dc5750, which will be available with either Intel or AMD chips, in the fourth quarter.

The xw9400 workstation will ship later in September for US$1,800. The notebooks include the HP Compaq 9400 for US$1,299; 8400 for US$1,449; nx7400 for US$849; nc6400 for US$1,199; 6300 for US$799; and 4400 for US$1,479.

Go here for detailed information about the new systems.

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