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Intel announces 'desktrino' home PC platform

'East Fork' to go live as VIIV

IDF Intel has announced it is to offer a 'desktrino' home PC platform. The Centrino-esque brand will be VIIV - pronounced 'vive'.

Unsurprisingly, it's founded on a dual-core processors, and it's based on Windows Media Center Edition, VP and General Manager of Intel's Digital Home Group, Don MacDonald, revealed at Intel Developer Forum today.

VIIV will formally launch in Q1 2006, presumably when Intel has its 65nm dual-core 'Presler' processors on the market. The platform was fomerly known as 'East Fork'.

MacDonald didn't detail the VIIV spec - but it's likely to include the processor, chipset, connectivity, supporting software infrastructure, a mandatory remote control unit and "maybe other things as we go forward", said MacDonald.

The Pentium D and 945 chipset have been mentioned in connection with the VIIV platform, as has Intel's 'Tekoa' Gigabit Ethernet controller. To that we'd add the 'Yonah' mobile processor and its 945M Express chipset. Likewise, the Pentium Extreme Edition/955X chipset combo.

Interestingly, wireless connectivity does not appear to be part of the standard spec. "Home networking capability and many Intel VIIV technology-based usage models will require additional hardware devices, software or services," the chip maker's smallprint states.

Presler is expected to incorporate Intel's Virtualisation Technology, so the platform may well incorporate a number of under-the-hood software sub-systems to make the system more consumer-friendly.

MacDonald demo'd a couple: the ability to put the system into a consumer electronics-style stand-by mode and then back on again, almost instantaneously. Intel calls it Quick Resume Technology. The system will also contain a media server which can automatically transcode video as it streams images to remote devices.

Each Intel VIIV PC will also ship with 5.1 surround sound as standard - 7.1 sound is optional. So too is a TV tuner.

Intel expects VIIV systems to encompass a range of form-factors, from towers to SFF PCs, and the company pledged to develop a "comprehensive" testing service to validate third-party products and - importantly - content and support services for their VIIV compatibility.

Readers will recall Intel trademarked the VIIV symbol back in the April timeframe. At the time, speculation centred on the idea that VIIV would be the name of the chip that was eventually branded the Pentium D. ®

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