AMD goes after vPro with seventh-gen PRO APUs

This week in lovely Barcelona, Spain, the Canalys Channels Forum is hosting representatives from virtually every major company in technology. AMD took the opportunity today to announce that HP and Lenovo are selling business-oriented desktops equipped with Bristol Ridge and Stoney Ridge-derived 7th-generation "PRO" APUs.

Along with the announcement comes the stuff that will probably be the most interesting for TR gerbils: the list of new APUs. The list is pretty much the list of 7th-generation APUs with "PRO" tacked onto the name, however. Jeff's write-up here includes the full list if you haven't seen them yet, but suffice it to say that AMD's latest APU family comprises seven processors. They come with either one or two Excavator modules running between 3GHz and 4.2GHz, plus four, six, or eight GCN 1.2 (Fiji family) compute units running at up to 1108 MHz.

So what does PRO get you? AMD says PRO is actually an acronym that stands for "Performance, Reliability, and Opportunity." One of the biggest features of the PRO-series APUs is the open-standards-based and vendor-neutral DASH remote management technology. DASH isn't an AMD invention—it's the product of the Distributed Management Task Force, a group that includes other big names like Dell and Cisco. AMD compares DASH favorably to Intel's vPro, because the free- and open-source nature of DASH means implementation doesn't cost the IT department anything.

Along with remote management, the PRO APUs also continue support for the AMD PRO Control Center. This utility debuted with the first-generation PRO APUs, and resembles the Radeon Crimson software a bit. It's designed to allow small business owners without dedicated IT departments to do a bit of system management on their own. These latest APUs still support ARM's TrustZone technology, as well, which could make them attractive for deployment in high-security environments.

HP and Lenovo are the first two companies to jump on the new APUs, but Lenovo isn't showing off any hardware yet. HP, by contrast, has a whole line of "Elite" hardware rocking AMD processors. While the line includes EliteBook laptops and EliteOne all-in-one PCs, only the EliteDesk 705 G3 has been updated with the latest chip so far. The business-oriented desktops come in micro-tower, small-form-factor desktop, and "mini" sizes. Hit up HP's site for the full details on the new machines.

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