HP Business Desktops Get Makeover

Hewlett-Packard beefs up the security and manageability of new business desktops, offering two models with Intel's Core 2 Duo desktop processor, and two with AMD's Athlon 64 X2 or Opteron processors.

Hewlett-Packard wants to take the hassle out of managing fleets of desktops with a new lineup of business PCs.

The Palo Alto, Calif., computer giant on Sept. 6 rolled out four new desktop models in its HP Compaq Business PC and HP desktop workstation lines. Two of the models offer Intels Core 2 Duo desktop processor, while two include Advanced Micro Devices Athlon 64 X2 or Opteron processors.

HP made over the desktops with higher-performance processors and other bits, such as supporting chip sets. However, it also emphasized increased security and manageability, two major sources of focus for senior-level IT managers.

Thus the new machines offer additions such as a preinstalled HP OpenView Configuration Management Agent and the availability of RAID (redundant array of independent disks) and HP backup and recovery software.

HP executives said it also sought to make the machines more secure by combining TPMs (or Trusted Platform Module 1.2) with its HP ProtectTools software for duties such as securing passwords. One of the new HP desktops also offers Intels vPro chip platform, which Intel has said will augment both manageability and security.

But, given that security and manageability features stretch across its new line of desktops, with the exception of vPro-equipped models, the biggest choice faced by some HP desktop customers may be in which processor vendor to chose.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the imminent arrival of vPro.

HP will offer Intels Core 2 Duo chips in its HP Compaq Business Desktop dc5700 and dc7700 lines. The Core 2 Duo offers greater performance than its predecessor, the Intel Pentium D, and AMDs Athlon 64 X2, HP officials said.

The midrange dc5700 desktop will offer Core 2 Duo processors and Intels Q963 chip set with built-in graphics, in addition to Celeron D, Pentium 4 and Pentium D chips. The dc5700 also offers the HP ProtecTools suite for securing passwords and other login information along with creating an encrypted space on a PCs hard drive.

However, HP will also target large businesses with a new dc5750 desktop that offers AMDs Athlon 64 X2 chips alongside the same ProtectTools suite and a TPM 1.2 module.

The machine, which is based on ATI Technologies Radeon Xpress 1150 Professional chip set with built-in Radeon X300 graphics, also offers AMD Sempron and Athlon 64 processors.

Previously, HP positioned its AMD-based dx5150 desktop as a small and midsize business machine. But numerous corporations purchased the machine in large numbers, prompting HP to target larger enterprises with that machines predecessor, the dc5750, said Brian Schmitz, worldwide director of marketing for business desktops for HPs Personal Systems Group in Houston, Texas.

But where HP executives said Intels Core 2 Duo tops AMDs Athlon 64 X2 in performance, they said AMD makes up in value or performance for the price of a given processor.

For that reason, they said, AMD chips are likely to now be permanently in place in business PCs.

Undoubtedly, some customers may choose to go with Intel for the Core 2 Duos all-out performance or to gain advantages in manageability and security offered by vPro.

Next Page: Giving customers a choice.