Intel is bringing its Tiger Lake processors to ultrathin laptops for businesses with the new 11th-generation Core vPro lineup, promising new security and AI features as well as big performance gains over AMD’s competing Ryzen Pro processors.
The company unveiled the new vPro processors alongside new processors for gaming laptops and education systems at the virtual CES 2021, providing enterprises with a new level of performance and security while offering the remote management capabilities that have become integral as many employees continue to work from home.
Intel said the 11th-generation Core vPro processors beat AMD’s latest Ryzen Pro 4000 lineup across three key areas: productivity, creation and collaboration. Compared with AMD’s Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U that came out last year, Intel said its flagship Core vPro i7-1185G7 is up to 23 percent faster for Microsoft Office 365 applications, up to 52 percent faster for Office applications while videoconferencing, 24 percent faster for web browsing and 82 percent faster for video editing.
The 11th-generation Intel Core vPro lineup, which is based on last fall’s Tiger Lake consumer release, consists of two i5 and two i7 processors, all of which come with four cores and eight threads. The flagship Core vPro i7-1185G7 comes with a 3GHz base frequency, a 4.8GHz single-core turbo frequency, a 4.3GHz all-core turbo frequency, a 1.35GHz graphics frequency, 96 graphics execution units, a 12-MB cache as well as memory support for DDR4-3200 and LPDDR4x-4266.
Intel said more than 60 new laptops will be launching this year with the new vPro processors. Some of them will have the Intel Evo vPro brand, an extension of the Intel Evo brand the company launched last year for premium laptop experiences. Among the first new vPro laptops is the Dell Latitude 9420, which comes with Intel’s new Visual Sensing Controller chip.
For Intel Evo vPro laptops, the chipmaker is promising a 40 percent improvement in responsiveness over three-year-old premium laptops while on battery, nine or more hours of battery life while using videoconferencing and other applications, and the ability to wake up the laptop in less than a second.
“Evo is our best for mobility solutions,” Stephanie Hallford, vice president of the Client Computing Group and general manager of business client platforms at Intel, told CRN. “It’s thin, light, beautiful laptops, highly mobile, and really built with a verified level of experience on battery life, on system display and on your overall experience. Now combined with vPro, we’re bringing that fantastic, best-of-consumer experience together with our best-of-business security [and] manageability.”
Like the previous generation of vPro processors, the new lineup comes with Intel Hardware Shield, a set of silicon-level security features that protects the system underneath and above the BIOS level and uses GPU resources to perform advanced threat detection workloads, lowering the strain on the CPU.
“We’re bringing out a threat detection capability that would allow users to detect ransomware or crypto-mining attacks and shut them down,” Hallford said. With the ability to offload that workload to the CPU, “you’re not sacrificing the performance of the system while this is happening,” she added.
New to this generation is Intel Control-Flow Enforcement Technology, a silicon-level security feature introduced in the consumer Tiger Lake processors that protects against common malware attacks.
Hallford said Accenture is using the new feature, also known as Intel CET, as a new service to provide to customers.
“That’s a fantastic capability for them to build into their Accenture solutions and utilize as they’re supporting their 6,000 customers worldwide,” she said.
Like the Tiger Lake consumer processors, the new vPro processors come with Iris Xe Integrated graphics, which offer a comparable level of performance to discrete graphics cards. They also feature AI capabilities such as the DL Boost DP4A instruction set for neural network inferencing on integrated graphics and support for INT8-based inference workloads. In addition, they include support for Intel Thunderbolt 4, Intel Wi-Fi 6/6E, and Intel Optane memory H20 with SSD.
Chuck Simmons, vice president and global lead of PC-as-a-Service for Accenture, appeared in Intel’s CES 2021 keynote video and said vPro has become an important way for his company to help customers address various IT issues remotely since so many of their employees work from home.
“Our clients have faced numerous challenges in this pandemic,” he said. “With remote workers and particularly at home, it is so difficult for us to be able to dispatch a very expensive resource to repair that PC. With Intel and the vPro platform, we’re able to get to that device remotely, monitor it, manage that device and then, more importantly, resolve any issues without having to do that.”