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Intel to take 'Averill' to market as Centrino-like platform

Targeting enterprise desktops this time

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Intel will next year launch its third branded PC platform, after Centrino and Viiv, this time pitched at corporate desktops.

As yet there's no word on the platform's go-to-market brandname, but it will almost certainly be based on Intel's 'Averill' platform. Averill was announced at the chip giant's Developer Forum in March this year for availability in 2006.

Averill is based on Intel's upcoming 'Broadwater' chipset, which will ship primarily as the 965 family, but also as the 946 and 963 product lines, it is believed. The platform also takes in Intel's next-generation Gigabit Ethernet controller, 'Nineveh', and its 65nm dual- and single-core Pentium D and Pentium 4 6xx processors.

Broadwater is expected to debut Q2 2006, with Averill's introduction following soon after, we'd say. Look to next Spring's Intel Developer Forum for a formal introduction.

The platform will support Intel's Active Management Technology, its enterprise-oriented remote-control system, aling with 'LaGrande', the company's upcoming Trusted Computing security sub-system, and Virtualisation Technology.

Intel re-organised its corporate structure around platforms in January 2005. Since then it has announced a number of corporate and consumer desktop platforms, but none has yet come to market as a Centrino-style branded bundle. Indeed, to date, Intel has studiously avoided suggesting any of its more enterprise-oriented platforms will ship as branded entities.

Not shipping them as such calls into question the relevance of the company's platform-centric approach, of course, so it was refreshing to hear VP Ananda Chandrasekher today say that Averill will indeed ship as a branded product.

Intel's second branded platform, Viiv, was announced in August and will come to market in Q1 2006. It's pitched at media centre systems, both powerful Pentium D-based boxes and small form-factor units built around the upcoming 65nm Pentium M, 'Yonah'. Viiv comprises those two CPUs, the 945/ICH7-DH and 945GM/ICH7-MDH chipsets, and an Intel LAN controller. The platform spec. also mandates Intel HD Audio support, a "Viiv verified 10ft GUI shell (MCE or other)", a Serial ATA HDD and Intel's Platform Driver Software 1.0.

Viiv was originally touted as a Windows XP Media Center Edition-based platform, but the appearance of the "or other" on Intel documentation suggests the company has a broader outlook, possibly related to rumours that Apple's next Mac Mini will be both Intel-based and offer media centre functionality through its Front Row GUI shell. ®

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