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Don’t Let Fast Fool You - What PC performance means today

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At work and at home, PCs allow people to contribute their greatest ideas and abilities. As innovation leaders, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we meet the needs of users who rely on these devices every day. And when it comes to business, the future of the workplace depends on it: 87 percent of IT leaders say the PC is central to their business[1]. In addition, IT decision-makers say performance is their No. 1 consideration when evaluating new devices, according to IDC's U.S. Consumer PCD Survey.[2]

But contrary to some perceptions around performance, users require more than just speed, and everyone’s needs are different. Some are techies or creators who need the highest-performing machines. Others, like workers on the go, need mobility, quick connection, instant response, and machines that don’t weigh them down. And they all need a secure, stable environment that’s easy for IT to manage.

There are many aspects of performance that seem to get lost in the conversation around speed. As the workplace evolves and employee needs change, elements like security and the user experience have become increasingly important. In this article, we’ll dispel some of the myths around performance and get to the core of what it truly means in today’s workplace.

Performance meets security

When it comes to performance, security plays a critical role. Here’s why: We know that work PCs are loaded with IT builds, including security software. However, when PCs are performance tested, they’re tested without these builds. So when the build is added, things begin to slow down. In addition, laptop battery life isn’t optimal if the PC has a full IT build on it.

This is why we believe that security must be built into not only the software, but also the hardware and CPU. This is the premise of the Intel vPro® platform. Rather than piecing together components from different vendors, Intel’s natively built platform elevates the user experience across CPU, hardware and software. We call this platformation. It’s a system that is built, tested, and works together to provide businesses of all sizes with an overall better performing system, right out of the box—supporting its other core capabilities around stability, manageability and security.

Intel builds the security technology that’s already part of the platform. This means only a few security agents are running, and the system performs smoothly with the security agents that are present. In short, the platform helps systems run speedily, even with IT loads.

At Intel, we understand that, although speed is important, there’s so much more to performance. That’s why we’re committed to delivering beyond the processor.


A New Kind of PC Experience

Intel is pushing the boundaries of innovation with the next generation of ultralight laptops, built on the Intel vPro® platform for maximum performance and the ultimate user experience.

One way Intel is enabling better user experiences is with our Project Athena innovation program. Based on a deep understanding of PC users—including their habits and behaviors—our team is partnering with tech companies across the industry to bring to market a new class of laptops designed for mobile performance and rooted in the built for business Intel vPro platform. They’re based on what people say they need most from their laptop: longer battery life, continuous connectivity, immediate action, and fast charge.

Today’s business users also need the computing power to navigate the data-driven organization, as well as protection against security threats. They want a modern login experience, faster multitasking, and the right device for their job. In short, workers require tools that can help them get things done.

By powering devices that are always available and up to date, responsive, connected, and feature long battery life, the Intel vPro platform keeps productivity flowing. And the platform’s proactive monitoring and remote management tools help IT teams resolve user issues faster, minimizing downtime and worker frustration.

The Project Athena innovation program was developed with these requirements and capabilities in mind. To ensure that all devices meet our robust standards for performance, the program will use the following measures.

  • Instant resume: Laptops must immediately transition from a sleep to a wake state when the lid is opened or a voice command given so users can complete tasks and then be encouraged to close the lid to conserve battery.

  • Responsiveness: Rather than look at CPU speed for a single task, devices will be measured on how responsive they are with multiple windows and applications open. The goal is to prevent screens from freezing, even under heavy workloads.

  • Worry-free battery life: Laptops will have an average of 9 hours of battery life on FHD (1080p) displays[3], and when the charge runs out, they should get four hours of charge in less than 30 minutes.[4]

  • Connectivity: All devices will have WiFi 6 (Gig+) for fast, reliable connections, even with multiple devices attached. This allows employees to stay connected, no matter where they are.

Taking performance measures to new heights

We believe that the measures used to gauge performance should drive the overall user experience. That’s why, rather than using static benchmarks and controlled assessments to measure performance for advanced laptops, our future plans include assessing performance based on actual challenges our users face on a daily basis. We call these Key Experience Indicators (KEIs).

One example is ensuring that the PC is fast and reliably connected no matter where a worker is located. Another is the ability to connect teams with high-quality audio and video.

Intel is also developing new responsiveness and battery life KEI targets for enterprise IT images for laptops built on the Intel vPro platform. Assessing these future KEIs could include testing responsive tasks like running Office 365 and browser page loads, or battery life tasks like live web browsing in Chrome and modern standby with connection. By getting a better understanding of how systems will perform in the everyday workplace, we can ensure they deliver during the moments that matter most.

Welcome to the complete PC experience

Built for business, the Intel vPro platform delivers the experience your employees demand,  plus all the features that IT require, like built-in security, manageability, and platform stability.

By starting out with the needs of business users, and providing a platform to bring together silicon, hardware and software, we can drive higher performance, and create a better experience all around. Users get the tools they need to be more productive, complete their work efficiently, and collaborate with colleagues. IT can simplify fleet maintenance and keep devices working and available. And, business ops can realize goals and minimize costs, as they continue to support the employee experience.

Designing with people first means we can create experiences that are more meaningful to them, and that can really make a difference in their lives. That’s the true meaning of performance.

Click to read the infographic: The Truth About Performance

Discover why refreshing your PC fleet now pays off in the long run. Read the Forrester report, How PCs Will Drive The Future of Work.

Learn more about how the Intel vPro platform drives performance at intel.com/vPro.

[1] How PCs Will Drive The Future of Work, Forrester, 2020.
[2] U.S. Consumer PCD Survey, IDC, 2017.
[3] Average of 9 hours of battery life: Testing as of 30 September 2019. For systems with FHD displays. Simulated to replicate typical scenario on wireless web browsing workload: shipped HW/SW configuration running multiple background applications and open web pages; on 802.11 wireless Internet connection, DC battery power, and 250nit screen brightness.
[4] Quick charge: For systems with FHD displays, when used for wireless web browsing. When powered off, from OEM default shutdown level.Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation.

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About the Author
Stephanie Hallford is vice president in the Client Computing Group and general manager of Business Client Platforms at Intel Corporation.