Intel Corp. is expected to unveil two new desktop processors on Monday
that come with hardware support for virtualization technologies, but
users won’t be able to take advantage of that technology for some time.
The new single-core Intel Pentium 4 672 and 662 processors are almost
identical to the 670 and 660 Pentium 4 processors in Intel’s product
lineup, except the new chips have transistors dedicated to improving
the performance of virtualization software, said Chad Taggard, director
of advanced technologies marketing with Intel.
Virtualization technology allows PC and server users to run multiple
operating environments on a single processor, allowing one machine to
be carved into several “virtual” computers.
For example, users could access corporate applications in one operating
environment, while using a different environment for personal
applications. IT managers could exercise tight control over the
corporate application environment and prevent viruses or malware from
moving from the personal environment to the rest of the company’s
This has been possible for a while with software from companies like
VMware Inc., XenSource Inc., but hardware virtualization allows that
software to run more efficiently. However, in order to take advantage
of the extra performance boost from Intel’s virtualization technology,
the software companies have to build support for that capability into
their products, Taggard said. That process is underway, but the updated
software products aren’t expected to become available until around the
beginning of next year, he said.
Early next year, Intel will bring the hardware virtualization
technology into its dual-core Pentium D processors, Taggard said.
Around the same time Intel will also introduce virtualization into its
Xeon server processors. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is also planning to
introduce virtualization technology for server and desktop processors
Lenovo Group Ltd., Acer Inc., Founder Group, and Tsinghua Tongfang
Computer System Business Group plan to announce support for the new
chips on Monday. PC market heavyweights Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard
Co. are waiting until next year to introduce the technology into their
systems, Taggard said.
Lenovo is only offering evaluation systems at this time, a company
spokeswoman said. Shipments of ThinkCentre M52 desktops with the new
Pentium 4 662 and 672 chips won’t begin until early next year, she said.
The Pentium 4 672 runs at 3.8GHz, features 2M bytes of cache memory and
costs US$605, just like the 670 processor. The 662 processor costs
$401, the same price as the 660 processor.
By Tom Krazit – IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)