Intel’s vPro branding certifies that a PC or laptop supports certain business-oriented hardware features. There are two levels of certification: vPro Essentials covers a set of capabilities aimed at SMBs, while vPro Enterprise provides the full package for larger businesses.
Below we break down everything you need to know about Intel vPro – use the links to jump to each section:
- What does Intel vPro technology do?
- What is the difference between Intel Core and Intel vPro?
- What is the difference between Intel Evo and Intel vPro?
- What is the difference between Intel Centrino and Intel vPro?
- What are the cons of Intel vPro?
- What does vPro mean for performance?
- What’s the difference between a Core i5 vPro computer and a Core i7 vPro computer?
- Is vPro 32-bit or 64-bit?
- What does Intel vPro mean for security?
- What’s the difference between vPro and DASH?
- Intel vPro and remote management
- Are there any downsides to vPro?
- Do I need vPro for my business?
What does Intel vPro technology do?
People often ask “what does Intel vPro technology do?”, but that’s not quite the right question. It’s a package of technologies that act as a guarantee of performance, security and management for companies. So, if you buy a laptop with vPro inside then you know that it will be fast, secure and manageable.
We cover this more in the rest of this article.
What is the difference between Intel Core and Intel vPro?
In short, Intel Core refers to processors (the brains of the computer, to hugely simplify things). Intel vPro refers to a set of technologies that extend beyond the processor and to the whole Intel “ecosystem”. So, that’s the chipset in the motherboard, the quality of the Wi-Fi, and the management tools.
What is the difference between Intel Evo and Intel vPro?
Intel’s Evo brand is similar to vPro, in that it doesn’t refer only to the CPU but tells you something about the computer as a whole. Evo laptops must combine a high-performance processor with a lightweight chassis and long battery life. That makes them ideal for working on the go, but an Evo system may not have the security and management features indicated by the vPro brand.
What is the difference between Intel Centrino and Intel vPro?
Intel’s Centrino label was formerly used to indicate that a laptop had the latest Wi-Fi capabilities at the time it was made; Centrino Pro systems included both Centrino and vPro technologies. However, the Centrino branding was retired in 2016, so any computer you see today with this label will be quite outdated.
What are the cons of Intel vPro?
There really are no cons of Intel vPro. However, a vPro system is likely to be more expensive than a non-vPro system, as it has gone through an extra layer of testing (and will have some extra technologies built in). The only question is whether you need Intel vPro, and that’s something this article aims to address.
What does vPro mean for performance?
To qualify for the Intel vPro badge, a computer must use a multicore processor from the Core i5, Core i7 or Core i9 families, or a Xeon CPU. This ensures that all vPro systems provide at least a certain level of performance.
However, the specific CPUs used in vPro systems are very similar to non-vPro processors used in regular PCs; the vPro technology itself doesn’t affect system speed.
What’s the difference between a Core i5 vPro computer and a Core i7 vPro computer?
Since vPro systems use standard Intel processors, the difference between Core i5 vPro and Core i7 vPro systems is the same as with non-vPro systems. A Core i5 vPro system will typically provide suitable performance for desktop applications, along with vPro security and management features.
A Core i7 vPro system offers more high-end performance, such as might be suitable for a graphics or development workstation – along with, again, vPro security and management capabilities.
Is vPro 32-bit or 64-bit?
All of the processors used in vPro systems are fully 64-bit-capable – but it’s perfectly possible to install and run 32-bit software on them, including 32-bit operating systems. This doesn’t affect the technologies that constitute vPro, as they don’t rely on software running on the CPU.
What does Intel vPro mean for security?
vPro systems must use a BIOS with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and support Intel’s Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). This checks that the boot process and system software match the expected cryptographic signature. If there’s a mismatch, the computer can be blocked from booting.
vPro systems also include Intel’s VT-x and VT-d hardware virtualisation features, to ensure that software can be executed securely inside a virtual machine, without interfering with the system software.
What’s the difference between vPro and DASH?
The DASH platform (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware) is an open management standard that’s supported by both AMD and Intel. DASH technology lets administrators remotely log in to a computer and then install software, perform security checks and carry out other tasks, all from a central console.
DASH even allows what’s called out-of-band management, enabling support staff to wake up a computer that’s powered down. Or connect to a device whose networking software isn’t correctly configured.
However, DASH doesn’t include the security features detailed above: those are unique to vPro.
Intel vPro and remote management
Intel vPro Enterprise systems include Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT), a hardware platform that enables full remote management.
With AMT, authorised users can log into a computer’s built-in administrative interface via a wired or wireless network – even when the computer is switched off – using either a web browser or freely available management software.
From here, support staff can adjust BIOS settings, boot the operating system, install software, apply administrative policies, audit hardware or review system logs, which are stored in a secure area that’s inaccessible to the user.
Are there any downsides to vPro?
vPro systems are more expensive than generic desktops or laptops, especially those with vPro Enterprise certification. However, for larger businesses, the price is justified by the convenience of remote administration.
The AMT platform also presents a potential target for hackers. In 2017, a vulnerability was found that could allow a remote attacker to access a PC’s AMT console and steal data or install malware. Businesses need to be alert to security risks and ensure any emerging issues are addressed as quickly as possible.
Do I need vPro for my business?
Intel AMT is only available on vPro Enterprise-certified systems. If you don’t require that capability, you may not need vPro. Most Intel-based computers offer a subset of the vPro features, such as TXT and virtualisation, along with a BIOS Secure Boot function that can prevent systems from loading a compromised OS.
There are also options that don’t rely on Intel technology. AMD’s Ryzen Pro platform includes hardware security features and remote management. In addition, AMD can be managed using Microsoft Endpoint Manager, helping to integrate administrative tasks into existing workflows.
- The vPro branding guarantees that a computer meets certain performance and security criteria.
- vPro hardware is divided into two categories: vPro Essentials for small and medium-sized businesses, and vPro Enterprise for the largest companies.
- vPro Enterprise includes Intel’s Active Management Technology, which provides remote administrative control over enlisted computers.
- Not every business needs vPro; alternative management platforms are available, such as AMD’s Ryzen Pro.
This article was updated on 31 August 2023 with six extra questions.
Image credit: Intel Corporation
Nathalie Parent, Chief People Officer at Shift Technology: “HR is the conscience of an organisation”
For more than 30 years, Nathalie Parent has led global HR teams, working primarily with software companies. Today she’s Chief People Officer at Shift Technology
Amazon introduces new storage class that makes it cheaper to store rarely used files
Robot carers are real, but caregiving has bigger problems, writes Richard Trenholm in this FlashForward edition