Intel updates Core vPro chips with Ivy Bridge

The third generation of Intel's business-oriented processors is based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture and brings added security components to the vPro platform
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Intel has revamped its Core vPro enterprise processors with Ivy Bridge architecture, with security and energy efficiency features for business ultrabooks and laptops.

The third generation of Intel's Core vPro line was unveiled on Tuesday. The security components and add-ons in the chips deal with threat management, identity and access, and data protection, among other issues. The built-in functionality is designed to appeal to enterprise IT managers concerned about workforce mobile device security, according to Intel.

"The BYOD [bring your own device] trend has put security front and centre," Rick Echevarria, general manager of Intel's business client platform group, said in a webcast.

The Core vPros come with the embedded Intel Identity Protection Technology authentication available in the preceding generation, built on Sandy Bridge. However, the updated processors also have an added public key infrastructure (PKI) component.

Identity Protection Technology integrates one-time-password algorithms into Intel chipsets. This has been combined with PKI, which uses a private key stored in the device's firmware to authenticate a user to an enterprise network. One-time passwords are typically generated by key fobs or tokens.

Businesses can buy managed cloud PKI services from Intel's partner Symantec, which worked with security companies Vasco and Feitian to develop the technology, according to the chipmaker.

The BYOD trend has put security front and centre.
– Rick Echevarria, Intel

In addition, the chipset has Intel's Secure Key, a hardware-based random number generator that businesses can use to encrypt applications, and OS Guard malware detection and prevention technology.

These embedded features continue Intel's push into security, which was underlined by the company's acquisition of McAfee just over a year ago. It has made the new Core vPro chips compatible with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) Deep Command, which is designed to allow remote patching.

The enterprise processors will be available to hardware makers "very soon" and should start showing up in business devices later this year, Intel said.

"We are going to bring [the chips] into form factors that business users want," Echevarria said.

Ivy Bridge

The new Core vPros are based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture, which also underpins chips launched by Intel in April for consumer desktops, laptops and other mobile devices. Ivy Bridge processors are built on a tri-gate process, which promises better energy efficiency, and their integrated graphics are designed to run high-definition video, according to Intel.

Technology updates mean that application performance in the new Core vPro processors has increased by 10 to 20 percent over previous generations, it added.

Other business features in the chips include integrated Smart Connect Technology, which automatically updates email and social-networking data on the device, and Active Management Technology version 8.0, for remote device management when a device is switched off.

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