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Photos: Formula One's Villeneuve puts spin on Intel

At a special 'London Grand Prix' event at the capital's Hyde Park, the chipmaker drafted in a Canadian Formula One driver to help push its latest chipsets
By Andrew Donoghue, Contributor on
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1 of 4 Andrew Donoghue/ZDNET

To drum up interest in its latest dual-core Xeon Processor 5100, previously codenamed ‘Woodcrest’, Intel held a special Formula One style event in London’s Hyde Park on Tuesday. Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel’s Server Platforms Group, took the stage with Canadian Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve who entertained attendees at the one-off event with a demonstration of his BMW-engineered  race car.

"If you look at Formula One car you have outstanding performance, then you can look at other cars with great miles per gallon. The IT industry is looking for a hybrid model where you don’t have to sacrifice performance for miles per gallon and efficiency," said Skaugen.

The Xeon Processor 5100 will be the first server processor to be released using Intel's new Core architecture.

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Intel was keen to draw parallels between its chip technology and motor sports. Skaugen claiming that there are many similarities between business and Formula One, such as the need to deliver incredibly high speed with reliable and efficient performance under pressure. "One IT hiccup can make the difference between a driver winning and losing a race, or a business winning and losing competitive advantage," he said.

The dual-core Intel Xeon processor 5100 begins shipping on 23 June. Intel claims that the new chipset will deliver as much as 125% increase in performance and more than 40 percent reduction in processor power compared with existing Paxville technology.

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Intel also tried to reinforce the image that it is more than a chip company by discussing virtualisation and desktop management. Later this year, the company will launch its vPro client management system which it claims could eliminate up to 80 percent of manual visits to fix desktop problems.

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 The Intel event, which was hosted by ITV-F1 commentator and former Formula One driver Martin Brundle, saw Villeneuve deafen the crowd of IT professionals and race fans with drag-racing style runs along the section of Hyde Park opposite The Albert Hall.

Asked by Brundle about how he approaches the risks involved in racing, Villeneuve replied that if he wasn’t involved in Formula One he would be doing something even more dangerous. "To have a big crash you have to be very unlucky. But you have to pay attention to every detail in the cockpit, so you are ready for a crash if it happens," he said.

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