Intel has a new chipset and network adapter for business users ready for launch at the end of the month. It will bring several new IT management technologies into the PC world, according to company executives.

The Intel 945G chipset and the Intel Pro/1000 PM networking chip will include Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) will fit into Intel's Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP), said Mike Ferron-Jones, marketing director of Intel's business clients group.

The new features are all part of Intel's new strategy of emphasising other aspects of system performance rather than just raw processing power. The company is now focussed on producing specific products for specific users, such as business PC users or consumers.

Intel's AMT technology is designed to let sysadmins access a protected portion of the PC to install software updates, run diagnostic programs, or take inventory of their systems even if the PC is not turned on. PC buyers will need to make sure they purchase a system with the Pro/1000 PM network adapter though.

The 945G chipset will now become part of SIPP, which is intended to help IT managers avoid having to change their software images or manage a network of PCs with several different image types, Ferron-Jones said. A software image is a standardised set of applications that businesses roll out to their PCs.

Intel also guarantees that IT departments that buy PCs based on a certain platform, or combination of components, will not have to update their software images because of hardware changes to that platform for at least 12 months.

Intel's 600 series Pentium 4 processors were introduced earlier this year in the middle of Intel's 12-month cycle of desktop product announcements, which typically occur around the end of the second quarter. Therefore, the company waited until the new chipsets were ready before including the processors in SIPP, he said.

One technology that won't be coming to the mainstream business segment just yet is dual-core, Ferron-Jones said. Intel believes that the home user is much more likely to need the multi-tasking performance provided by the Pentium D, Intel's first dual-core desktop processor scheduled for release later this month.

Home users are more likely to be running multi-media applications that can take advantage of the parallelism of dual-core chips, Ferron-Jones said. Also, business customers prefer to spend a longer period of time evaluating new features and technologies on products they will buy in bulk.

Intel recommends that its business PC customers select the new combination of the Pentium 4 600 series chips, 945G chipset, and Pro/1000 PM network adapter if they are looking to upgrade their PCs this year.

Most PCs with that combination will cost between $800 and $1,000.