Intel is launching new desktop processors bundled with virtualisation technology to allow users to sub-divide their processing power to different or the most important tasks.
Virtualisation makes it possible for users to more easily run multiple operating systems or dedicate fixed amounts of processing power to specific applications on a single chip.
Virtualisation is already possible in some Intel Xeon chips designed for servers, but this is the first time that Intel has delivered the technology to desktops.
Intel is rolling out virtualisation through a range of its desktop Pentium 4 chips. It is offering virtualisation through its 672 and 662 chips, which will be shipped by desktop PC manufacturers including Acer and Lenovo, which acquired IBM’s PC manufacturing business earlier this year.
The technology will be available in the single-core Pentium 4 for the time being, although Intel will add virtualisation to its more powerful dual-core Pentium D in the first quarter of 2006.
Later in 2006, virtualisation will also be added to Intel’s next-generation Xeon and Itanium server chips.
Rival AMD is planning to introduce chip-embedded virtualisation to both desktop and server models in the first half of next year.