IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Intel Introduces Kaby Lake vPro Processors

The new 7th Gen Intel Core vPro chips, which will ultimately appear in over 100 notebook and desktop PCs, are designed to deliver up to 65 percent better multitasking performance and up to 10 hours of battery life. By Rich Freeman

Intel Corp. has shipped a new family of business-grade “Kaby Lake” processors.

Officially unveiled last August, Kaby Lake is the latest edition of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel’s Skylake CPU platform. PCs equipped with the new 7th Gen Intel Core vPro chips introduced today deliver up to a 65 percent improvement in multitasking performance compared to comparable devices produced 5 years ago and up to 10 hours of battery life, according to Tom Garrison, vice president and general manager of Intel’s business client division.

“Workers are much more on the go now,” he observes. “Battery life is important and we’re delivering a big jump in [that].” Together, Garrison continues, the new processors’ power efficiency and performance gains result in up to 50 percent better end user productivity.

Hardware makers will ultimately utilize 7th Gen Intel Core vPro CPUs in over 80 notebook PCs and more than 20 desktops spanning everything from clamshell form factors and 2-in-1s to towers and all-in-ones. According to Garrison, today’s businesses need access to a wide variety of hardware designs in order to attract and retain employees, especially the youngest and most desirable ones.

“You can’t hire the top millennials if you’re not giving them what they perceive to be the technology that will support them and make them successful,” he says.

Intel expects approximately 50 computers bearing 7th Gen Intel Core vPro chips to be available by the end of this month. Roughly 40 more designs will arrive in February and March, followed by another 10 or so in the second quarter of the year.

Garrison points to security and manageability as key strengths for the new Intel processors.

“Business PCs have to be managed and increasingly they have to be the most secure devices out there, because the PC really is the front door to a network,” he says.

On the security front, 7th Gen Intel Core vPro processors come with the first general availability version of Intel Authenticate. Available in preview mode for the last year, Authenticate allows companies to create multifactor authentication processes combining “something you know” (like a four-digit PIN code), “something you have” (like a smartphone), and “something you are” (like a fingerprint). Administrators can customize those procedures for different environments, requiring more factors when users login from a coffee house or airport, for example, than when they connect to the network from their office.

Authenticate is designed to help businesses mitigate identity-related security vulnerabilities, which play a role in over 60 percent of data breaches, according to 2015 data from Verizon Communications Inc. Intel eventually plans to integrate the system with Microsoft’s Windows Hello authentication technology, which lets users login with fingerprints or facial recognition rather than passwords, to create a single, unified sign-on process.

“This is something that Intel and Microsoft are absolutely committed to,” states Garrison, who says the integration will appear in a future release of the Windows operating system but declined to specify when that software will reach market.