Centrino 2 with VPro coming in August

Laptops based on Intel's Centrino 2 with vPro will hit the market in August.

Intel will follow the release of its Centrino 2 chip package for laptops with a version that contains technologies designed to help companies more easily manage employees' laptops.

The package, called Centrino 2 with vPro, will appear in laptops that hit the market next month, said Suajn Kamran, regional marketing manager of client platforms at Intel in Singapore.

Centrino 2 with vPro uses the same G45 chipset with integrated graphics that's found in some Centrino 2 systems, but the Southbridge chip used with Centrino 2 with vPro -- the second part of the two-chip chipset -- is different, Kamran said. Systems based on Centrino 2 with vPro are still going through the system-evaluation process, he said.

Centrino 2 overhauls Intel's laptop chip package with more powerful processors and new features, including support for faster 802.11n wireless networking and the stated goal of watching a Blu-ray movie on a fully charged battery. The latter may be of little consequence to IT managers, but support for 802.11n and the addition of new vPro technologies in Centrino 2 with vPro, including an anti-theft feature, should appeal to them.

Intel Anti-Theft Technology was first disclosed at the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai during April, although few technical details were revealed at that time.

The technology works by allowing IT administrators to lock out a thief from accessing information stored on the laptop's hard disk. It does this by disabling a microcontroller embedded in the chipset that authenticates user access to the hard disk. When this happens, the chipset no longer has the key needed to bypass the disk-level encryption used to protect data on the hard disk, making it inaccessible.

However, there is at least one way around this feature. The Anti-Theft Technology requires the stolen laptop be connected to the Internet for the feature to be activated remotely. If the stolen laptop is not connected to the Internet there is no way for IT administrators to activate the feature, which means a determined thief could still access data stored on the hard drive.

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