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Sources close to mainboard makers reportedly disclosed the launch dates of Intel Pentium 4 processors enabled with support for virtualization technology. The new chips will reportedly be launched in about two weeks from now, which means that computer users may get PCs with support for virtualization this holiday season. Unfortunately, Intel will only release single-core chips with enabled virtualization, as a consequence, consumers will not be able to get the creams of this year’s technologies in one product.

DigiTimes web-site, which cites sources among mainboard makers, Intel Pentium 4 models 672 and 662, both of which support virtualization technology, are to be introduced on November 13. The new chips are to operate at 3.80GHz and 3.60GHz, integrate 2MB of cache, come in LGA775 form-factor and use 800MHz processor system bus. It is likely that the chips will be drop-in compatible with the current infrastructure, such as mainboards based on Intel 945 and Intel 955 chipsets, but in order to take advantage of the virtualization technology users should have appropriate BIOS and software.

In the first half of next year virtualization capability will be available across all platforms Intel ships, including Intel Xeon DP/MP and Itanium servers, Intel Pentium D desktops as well as Intel Centrino notebooks. It is possible, however, that not all the forthcoming processors and core-logic products support virtualization technology.

Virtualization allows a platform to run multiple operating systems and applications in independent partitions or “containers.” One physical compute system can function as multiple “virtual” systems.

Within the digital office and enterprise, businesses for example will be able to isolate a portion of a managed PC to perform system upgrades and maintenance without interrupting the end-user. IT managers could also create one desktop PC build that can function independently as both a business and personal system, keeping software loads and virus attacks separate, or one that runs different operating systems and software for different or legacy tasks. Multiple servers can be combined into one system, running different applications and operating systems, providing advantages for IT tasks such as server consolidation, legacy migration and security.

Home users could create virtual “partitions” isolating multiple user environments such as dedicating resources to a PC game, productivity, and personal video recorder-type environments, as well as improve defenses against viruses or spyware.

Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) is a set of hardware enhancements to Intel server and client platforms that can improve virtualization solutions. 

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