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Cool Chips Are Hot

With its chips inside about 83% of all x86 servers, PCs, and notebook computers, Intel shares some of the blame for how much time and money businesses spend just keeping their IT systems running. With last week's introduction of a chip architecture that promises lower electric bills and easier computer management, Intel took up that challenge, pledging to help companies wring out some of those IT costs.

That could free up companies' IT budgets for what their boards really care about: deploying new systems that can cut bureaucracy, help spot sales opportunities, or get products to market quicker. Most businesses spend 70% to 90% of their IT dollars simply keeping systems running. "It's harder and harder for CIOs to be able to afford to put new capabilities into their enterprises," Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini said at the Intel Developer Forum last week.

New processors will help IT managers cut the cost of running data centers, Intel CEO Otellini says.

New processors will help IT managers cut the cost of running data centers, Intel CEO Otellini says.

Photo by DPA

If Intel's new architecture strategy delivers cost savings, it may also help polish the company's reputation for technical innovation, which has been overshadowed a bit lately by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Otellini is promising cost savings from embedding into Intel's chips features to improve the security and manageability of IT systems. Intel says new dual-core processors due next year with built-in management and virtualization features will cut the cost of managing a data center or a building full of PCs. They also will provide more performance per watt, letting companies cut energy and cooling costs.

Intel plans to deliver processors with two or more cores that can each operate at slightly slower speeds but provide more performance than a faster, single-core chip. That lets them consume less power and generate less heat, yet provides a path for continued performance improvements. Much like how Intel sold its Centrino chip as a platform for wireless computing, it will pitch these multicore chips, combined with other Intel chips, as platforms for specific types of computing systems, including a business PC platform.

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