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Video: Get laptops that are powerful, secure, reliable with the Intel Evo platform

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by Peter Krass on 11/04/2021
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Your IT customers need laptops that can handle today’s toughest workloads, protect data against sophisticated hackers, and keep working no matter what. And their end users want laptops that are lightweight, responsive and high-performing.

Intel Evo platform laptops to the rescue. They wake up instantly and can run for hours on a single charge. Offer stunning visual displays.

And they feature 11th gen Intel Core processors, Intel Iris Xe graphics, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and Thunderbolt 4 ports.

You can also get help selling Intel Evo platform laptops. The Intel Partner Marketing Studio offers collateral, messaging, visual aids and more.

Learn more from this short “What’s in IT for Me”? video with Katie Bavoso of CRNtv. Watch the video now:



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Get a cybersecurity snapshot from HP’s new report

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by Peter Krass on 11/04/2021
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Call it a perfect storm of cyber insecurity: A new survey report from HP finds that at the same time cyber threats are on the rise, IT teams are having a harder time delivering security support.

The HP report comes just as the Biden administration issued a related directive. It requires nearly all U.S. executive branch agencies and departments to patch approximately 200 cybersec vulnerabilities considered to be major risks.

“Every day, our adversaries are using known vulnerabilities to target federal agencies,” said Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a statement.

The HP report, produced by the company’s Wolf Security unit, is based on 2 surveys. One is a Toluna online survey of 1,100 IT decision-makers in 7 countries including the U.S. The other was a YouGov online survey of 8,433 adults in the same 7 countries who worked from home during the pandemic.

Report highlights

Here are highlights from the HP Wolf Security report:

Shadow IT is growing: Nearly half of office workers (45%) bought IT equipment to support home working in the last year. But as shown by the chart below (courtesy of HP), only about half of workers had IT check or install their new gear.

HP security chart

Phishing works: Three-quarters of IT teams say they’ve seen a rise in the number of employees who open malicious emails and click on dangerous links. And about half of home workers admit they’ve clicked on a malicious email. Yet 70% of them failed to report it to IT. A quarter didn’t think it was important, 1 in 5 said it was too much of a hassle, and about 1 in 10 feared reprisal.

Rebuild rates are up: PCs get rebuilt after a known infection, and roughly 8 in 10 IT teams say the number of rebuilds has risen during the pandemic. But the problem could be even worse. 8 in 10 IT teams worry that employee devices might be compromised without the employees realizing it.

IT support is faltering: Over 8 in 10 IT teams say the pandemic has put a bigger strain on tech support. The cost of providing security support has risen, on average, by 52%. And three-quarters of IT teams say the amount of time required to triage a threat has increased in the past year. Put it all together, and you can see why 77% of IT managers worry about their staff feeling so overworked and burnt out, they’ll quit.

Cyber solutions

What’s the cyber solution? HP Wolf Security recommends several things, including:

> Employ tools for greater endpoint visibility — you can’t manage what you can’t see.

> Look into threat containment and isolation tools. These can prevent malware from spreading after a partial breach.

> Adopt Zero Trust principles. This approach essentially assumes you’ve been breached already. So Zero Trust systems verify each and every request as though it had originated from an open network.

Learn more: Get a copy of the HP Wolf Security report, Out of Sight & Out of Mind (13-pp. PDF).



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5 takeaways from Microsoft Ignite

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by Peter Krass on 11/02/2021
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The hybrid workspace is here to stay. That was the message behind several dramatic announcements Microsoft made at its Ignite online event today, many of them centered on the company’s Teams collaboration app. 
Here are 5 top takeaways from Microsoft Ignite:
> Mesh for Teams: Microsoft takes Teams into the metaverse, allowing meeting participants to appear as digital avatars. And you’ll be able to use it from a standard laptop or smartphone (though you can also use a VR headset). It’s scheduled to roll out next year. Here's a look:
Mesh for Teams
> Loop: An app that creates a “canvas” on which teams can collectively plan, collaborate and create. There are 3 components: Workspaces, Pages and Components. Availability for Loop hasn’t been announced yet. 
> Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces: Uses AI to take observation data captured by cameras to unlock insights and respond to new trends. Previously called Connected Store and offered to retailers only, it’s been renamed and expanded for all industries. A preview version will be available in December. 
Connected Spaces
> Context IQ: Capabilities for Dynamics 365 and MS 365 that integrate collaboration into the workflow, and predict and suggest information you might need. That could mean recommending relevant files for a document or suggesting the right people for meetings — and find a time when everyone’s free.
> Viva: An employee-experience platform, it brings together communications, knowledge, learning and insights. Announced earlier this year, Viva is now being made generally available to everyone. Also, Viva’s original 4 modules have now been repackaged as a single suite. 
Learn more: Check out Microsoft Ignite.

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Take a deeper dive into the new 12th gen Intel Core processors

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by Peter Krass on 11/01/2021
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The 12th gen Intel Core desktop processors announced last week by Intel notably deliver a bunch of firsts:

> They’re the company’s first processor family built with the new Intel 7 process.

> The first Intel processors to support both DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 connectivity.

> The company’s first to feature 2 micro-architectures coordinated by Intel Thread Director.

> And the first family to support a new cache architecture.

Initially, the line comprises 6 unlocked desktop processor SKUs, ranging from i5 to i9. They’re available with up to 16 cores and 24 threads; up to 30MB of Intel Smart Cache (L3); and up to 14MB of L2 cache.

The new CPUs also offer up to 20 lanes — a mix of up to16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 plus up to 4 lanes of PCIe 4.0. Performance revs up to 5.2 GHz with TurboMax.

Compared with its previous generation, Intel says the new CPUs deliver:

> Up to 36% faster photo-editing performance

> Up to 32% faster video-editing performance

> Up to 37% faster 3D-modeling performance

> Up to 100% faster multiframe rendering

Topping the current lineup of 12th gen Intel Core CPUs is the i9-12900K gaming processor. Intel calls is the “world’s best gaming processor.” Compared with previous generations, the i9 delivers up to 30% more performance, according to Intel.

2 micro-architectures

The processor family’s 2 micro-architectures represent what Intel says is the company’s biggest architectural shift in a decade. Intel has essentially divided the processor design into Performance-cores and Efficient-cores.

12th Gen Intel Core Processor Architecture

12th Gen Intel Core Processor architecture: P-cores & E-cores

P-cores, as they’re known, are optimized for handing single and lightly-threaded performance, and for enhancing both gaming and productivity workloads. E-cores, by contrast, are optimized for handling scaling, highly threaded workloads. They’re also designed to minimize interruptions from background task management.

These 2 micro-architectures are coordinated by Intel Thread Director, a scheduler designed to work with Windows 11. Thread Director monitors the runtime instruction mix, provides runtime feedback to the OS, and dynamically adapts guidance based on the thermal design point, operating conditions and power settings.

The 12th gen Intel Core family’s new cache architecture involves a common cache shared among P-cores, E-cores and processor graphics. The biggest benefits from this are said to be faster game loading and smoother frame rates.

For enthusiasts and gamers, these new Intel processors can be overclocked. To help, Intel has upgraded 2 tools: Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (now at version 7.5) and Intel Extreme Memory Profile (now 3.0).

Partners galore

Intel says 140 of its partners in 30 countries will add 12th gen Intel Core CPUs to their products by year’s end. They include Tier 1 vendors Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo.

First out the gate was Dell Alienware. At last week’s Intel Innovation event, an Alienware exec briefly introduced the Aurora R13, a gaming desktop powered by 12th gen Intel Core processors. When maxed out with the new i9K CPU, the Alienware Aurora R13 will retail for $3,720.

Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop

Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop: Intel i9K inside

Unit pricing for the new 12th gen Intel Core processors starts at $264 to $589 for unlocked processors. If you’re interested in building PCs around these new CPUs, you can place a pre-order now. Shipments are set to begin this Thursday, Nov. 4.

If Intel’s own projections are right, these new CPUs will be big sellers. Intel says it expects to ship hundreds of thousands of units by year’s end, and more than 2 million units by next March.

As part of its 12th gen push, Intel plans to expand the processor family to include not only desktops but also laptops. The company expects to be shipping 28 SKUs to OEM partners by early next year.

Explore more:

> Product brief: 12th Gen Intel Core Processors

> Press release (includes initial SKU table): Intel Unveils 12th Gen Intel Core, Launches World’s Best Gaming Processor

> Webcast: Intel Innovation keynote


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Discover new opportunities at the Intel Partner Forum on Nov. 18

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by Peter Krass on 10/28/2021
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Join the Intel Partner Forum to hear the latest industry growth trends and opportunities for 2022 and beyond. It's being held on Nov. 18 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.

Intel Partner Forum 2021

During this virtual event, you’ll hear from Intel executives. You’ll also learn about the latest recommended training courses. They can provide business and technology information that best fits your business model.

The opening keynote will be delivered by John Kalvin, an Intel VP and the company’s general manager (GM) of global partners & support. He’ll discuss how partners can capitalize on growth with Intel.

Other Intel executives speaking at Intel Partner Forum will include:  

> Jason Kimrey, GM of U.S. channel scale and partners

> Dorin Vanderjack, GM of U.S. accounts

> Greg Ernst, GM of U.S. sales and marketing

> Owen DeLeon, GM of PSG sales

> Gina Merjanian, GM of U.S. inside sales

Also, following closely on this week’s introduction of the 12th gen Intel Core desktop processors, the forum will feature 2 related sessions:

> How to sell 12th gen Intel Core processors for desktop

> Gaming on 12th gen Intel Core desktop processors: a technical deep dive

Connect, innovate and grow: Join the Intel Partner Forum on Nov. 18. It’s free to attend, and you can register now.

The Intel Partner Forum is exclusively for Intel Partner Alliance partners. If you’re not yet a member of the Intel Partner Alliance, activate your account today.


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5 takeaways from Intel Innovation

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by Peter Krass on 10/27/2021
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At today’s Intel Innovation online event, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said during his opening keynote: “The geek is back at Intel.”

Indeed, Intel today made a long list of technical announcements. Here are 5 top takeaways:

1. Intel introduced the 12th gen Intel Core desktop processor family. They including the Intel Core i9-12900K, a gaming processor that will ship on Nov. 4. This is the first CPU family based on the Intel Process 7 node. Ultimately, the family will comprise over 60 processors, of which 28 SKUs are shipping now. Dell Alienware is first out the gate with the Aurora R13, a new gaming desktop based on the 12th gen Intel Core CPUs.

12th gen Intel Core processor

2. Intel introduced the Intel Data Science Solution, tools available on Linux-based PCs powered by Intel processors. Dell, HP and Lenovo have already signed on to offer systems based on this solution.

3. For developers, Intel introduced the Intel Developer Zone, a simplified and unified site. Intel also announced oneAPI 2022. Scheduled for release in December, it will feature 7 development environments, over 900 new features, and open source resources including libraries, SDKs, tools and more. There are also 11 new Centers of Excellence.

4. Intel announced the first generation of Intel Arc high-performance GPUs for gamers, codenamed Alchemist. These GPUs will offer an upscaling technology for game developers called Xe Super Sampling.

5. Intel promises the next generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processors, codenamed Sapphire Rapids, will be easier for developers to build on and to harness several of the new built-in acceleration engines. Security will be enhanced, too.

The Intel Innovation event continues through Oct. 28. 


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Bring innovation to market faster with Intel-based Solutions

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by Peter Krass on 10/26/2021
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Are you frustrated by an inability to bring innovative data center and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to market as quickly as you’d like? Do you find solutions require skills and expertise you lack? And wouldn’t you like to grow your business?

Intel is here to help. The company offers several solutions-based options to help you bring data-center and IoT innovations to market faster.

No matter where you are in your solution-development journey, Intel offers a solutions initiative that can help solve your business challenges and drive fast outcomes. Here’s your tech provider’s overview of today’s Intel-based Solutions.

Workload-optimized solutions

Intel Select Solutions can speed your time to value with workload-optimized hardware and software solutions that are ISV-certified, OEM-validated and ready to perform.

These are technology “recipes” that have been tested successfully by Intel’s labs. You can use them as reference architectures to optimize standard data-center workloads such as Microsoft SQL and VMware vSAN.

Solutions are currently available for AI, analytics, cloud, high-performance computing (HPC), and network and edge. Their suppliers include OEMs such as Cisco, Lenovo and Supermicro, as well as channel and scale partners including DataON, WWT and SHI.

RFP-ready kits

To help you accelerate your time to market and reduce complexity within the journey to IoT solutions, there are Intel loT RFP Ready Kits.

These are integrated, use-case focused, commercial-grade technology bundles. Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits are commercially-hardened, ready-for-customer solution kits built for scale into customer deployments.

Each kit is available for purchase today. They feature commercial grade components, customizable APIs, a verified distribution pricing model and support.

Intel now offers more than 150 kits. Each kit is aligned with a key industry vertical, including smart cities, industrial automation, retail, transportation and health/life sciences.

Ready-to-deploy solutions

To deliver on the transformative promise of IoT, Intel and its ecosystem of partners offer Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions. These are scalable, commercially available end-to-end solutions.

Currently, more than 300 IoT solutions are available. You’ll find a mix of hardware components, integrated hardware systems, software and services. There are also integrated solutions that combine both hardware and software.

Intel also offers the Data-Centric Solutions Scale program. It’s designed to help you leverage Intel resources, enhance the visibility of your solution and increase your sales.

To be eligible, your datacenter solution must meet 3 simple criteria:

> It’s built on Intel technology

> It’s already commercially deployed

> It’s available to order now

Solutions matchmaking

Intel Solutions Marketplace provides an online catalog to find all the solutions in one place. You can search the Intel Solutions Marketplace partner directory. There, partners are categorized by business type, role, specialty, segment and industry.

Find something you like? A “contact partner” button is offered on partner-card quick views, in partner profiles, and in storefront detail pages.

You can also compare solutions with the “Add to Compare” button on the search-results page. You can compare up to 4 offerings from the same category.

Submit a solution

Have a great solution you’d like to offer other tech providers? Submit your solution for approval to the Intel Partner Alliance. You’ll also gain access to select benefits that include value-add sales and marketing opportunities.

Once your solution is approved, it will be added to the Intel Solutions Marketplace, a global marketplace listing Intel Partner Alliance members and offerings. If eligible, you can also create a storefront where you can post components, software, systems and services offerings.

Intel Partner Alliance

All the programs described above are also part of Intel Partner Alliance. That’s Intel’s unified partner program and is your front door to the Intel partner ecosystem.

Joining Intel Partner Alliance is free. And you’ll gain access to valuable benefits that include Intel technical training, marketing help, valuable rewards and expedited support.

Not yet an Intel Partner Alliance member? Find out what you’re missing and register to join.

Get help bringing innovative solutions to market faster:

> Intel Partner Alliance

> Intel Select Solutions

> Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits

> Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions

> Intel Solutions Marketplace

> Submit Your Solution to Intel Partner Alliance


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On-demand webinar: Grow your business with Intel NUC

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by Peter Krass on 10/22/2021
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A new on-demand webinar can help you discover the secret sauce behind the successful Intel NUC Mini PCs, Elements, laptop kits and more.

This 50-minute webinar is led by Alicia McCallen, an Intel product marketing manager. It’s available now for on-demand viewing on Intel Partner University.

Intel NUC webinar

Entitled Intel NUCs: Built for Business, the webinar can also earn you 7 credits via the Intel Partner Alliance.

What’s covered

Here’s some of what you’ll learn in this on-demand webinar:

> What is the Intel NUC?

> Intel NUC’s first decade: Highlights since the device’s 2012 launch

> Intel NUC product portfolio: Including Mini PC, Element, laptop kits and boards

> The right Intel NUC device for the job: NUC 9 Pro, NUC 11 Pro, NUC Element, and more

> Intel NUC management features: Intel Watchdog timer utility, display emulation, client management interface

> Intel NUC partner ecosystem: Including managed security appliance solutions

> Intel NUC Element: A system-on-module for both U- and H-series CPUs used in workstations, smart screens and modular compute — many from ecosystem partners

> Intel vPro overview: Better business performance, security, remote manageability and stability — no matter the device’s form factor — and help control costs with optimal TCO

> Grow your MSP business: Resources to help you sell and deploy Intel NUC devices

Discover the Intel NUC’s secret sauce, and learn how to use it to build your business.

Take the course: Intel NUC – Built for Business: IT Nation Explore webinar

NOTE: Intel Partner University is among the many benefits of Intel Partner Alliance membership. Not yet a Partner Alliance member? Learn more and register now.


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Intel is big in software – even if you didn’t know it!

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by Intel on 10/21/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

“We have to deliver the software capabilities, and then we have to empower it, accelerate it, make it more secure with hardware underneath it. And to me, this is the big bit flip that I need to drive at Intel.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO, Intel

Articles featuring Intel’s software focus have been making headlines over the last few weeks, including this major CRN story featuring our CEO.

We’re also hosting the latest Intel ON virtual event on October 27-28. It’s an educational tech event focused on software and development.

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. The roles that software and developers play in helping accelerate transformation are top-of-mind right now.

Intel’s software pedigree

In 2012 Forbes called Intel “The Biggest Software Company You’ve Never Heard Of.”

That statement is still so true. Intel is renowned for its hardware. But many people don’t know how deep our software roots run:

> More than 2 decades ago, Intel committed to open-source software development.

> Intel today employs more than 15,000 software engineers.

> There are a trillion lines of code optimized for Intel’s x86 chips.

> Intel has optimized more than 100 operating systems.

> Intel is the No. 1 contributor to the Linux kernel, a top 3 contributor to Chromium OS, and a top 10 contributor to OpenStack.

> Intel’s Open Source Technology Center is a repository for hundreds of open-source projects.

> The Intel developer ecosystem includes about 20 million developers. Millions of developers use Intel Software development tools and libraries.

Software unlocks innovation

It’s fair to say that software is at the heart of Intel’s solutions. Software helps us unleash hardware, and it also helps us realize the full benefits and performance of new hardware architectures.

At Intel, we see software that’s performant, open and productive. Software supports our drive to innovate across six pillars of technology development as the key to unleashing the power of data.

Also, we’ve built some amazing open-source solutions and toolkits to empower developers and accelerate solution development:

> OneAPI: A new, unified software programming model for CPU, GPU, AI and FPGA accelerators.

> OpenVino: A toolkit to facilitate faster inference of deep learning models to develop high-performance computer vision and deep learning solutions from device to the cloud.

> Lava: Addresses the need for a common framework for the neuromorphic research community. It’s an open-source software framework for developing neuro-inspired applications.

> Intel DevCloud: Our software sandbox for testing the latest tools and hardware.

And there’s more.

We recognize that by jointly designing, building and validating new products with software industry leaders, we can accelerate advancements. We can also ensure that software and hardware work better together.

Man with the plan

Pat Gelsinger rejoined Intel in January, becoming the company’s new CEO, and since then he’s forged a clear path. He has also underscored the need to adopt a software-first strategy, one that makes Intel the silicon platform of choice all the way from the edge to the cloud.

This strategy has an important component for Intel’s channel partners.

“We have to grow the partners. Some of those will be ISVs. Some of those will be SaaS providers as well,” Gelsinger told CRN. “Many of those skills need to become part of our channel partners’ repertoires as well, as they increase their cloud and SaaS capabilities and their software capabilities.”

John Kalvin, Intel’s global channel chief, adds: “[Gelsinger] is driving a broad recognition across Intel: If we win with software, then we’re going to make it easier for our ecosystem of partners to deliver solutions around Intel.”

Stop focusing on products

People buy solutions, not products. People focus on outcomes, not products.

As IT partners, we too need to focus on solutions, not products. And we need to make it easier for our customers to deploy those solutions in their environments.

For Intel, this means ensuring that our solutions, and the workloads that matter, are optimized to run best on our hardware. That needs to be the case whether a solution is on prem, at the edge or in the cloud.

The surge in as-a-service offerings supports the need for complete solutions. In response, our ecosystem partners have increased their focus on software and services.

That could mean expanding in-house software development capabilities to deliver a new “as-a-service” offering. Or it could mean looking to partner with a development team. Either way, Intel knows that open-source solutions, optimized to perform on Intel hardware, can help accelerate solution deployment — and perhaps open new revenue streams.

As Greg Lavender, Intel’s CTO, says: “We have to work with our partners to bring [those capabilities] forward in new ways that could create new business models. And there are possibilities for revenue-sharing.”

As long as our customers look to deploy increasingly complex solutions, then hardware, software and services will need work closely together to enable seamless edge-to-cloud solutions. That will be the key to continued innovation.

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.



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Customers asking about Windows 11? Here’s what to tell them

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by Peter Krass on 10/20/2021
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It’s been about 2 weeks since Microsoft formally announced the Windows 11 PC operating system, and in that short time a fair amount of dust has settled. If your customers are asking about Win11, you now have some answers for them.

First, it turns out that many — though not all — older Windows 10 PCs can be upgraded to Win11, and the upgrade is free. Microsoft’s PC Health Check tool will tell you whether an older device is eligible for this Win11 upgrade.

Windows 11

Second, the major PC vendors are all on board, which means that essentially all new PCs are being introduced as Win11 pre-install systems. You won’t find too many new PCs featuring Windows 10.

Windows laggards aplenty

If it seems like many PC users are still migrating to Windows 10, you’re kind of right. Even though Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 in Jan. 2020, a surprising number of devices are still running that OS version.

According to NetMarketShare, 62% of all desktops and laptops are running Windows 10. But 21% — that’s 1 in 5 PCs worldwide — are still running Windows 7.

Speaking of end-of-support, you can also tell your Win10-using customers that while Win11 does offer powerful new features, there’s no big rush. Microsoft says it will continue supporting Win10 for another 4 years.

Top PC vendors get on board

The top PC vendors are all on board with Windows 11. For example, check the Dell retail site for systems supporting Windows 11 Home, and you’ll get a result showing 107 devices. (To be fair, many are various configurations of the same basic system.)

These include the company’s Alienware X17 gaming laptop, a $3K beast loaded with an 11th gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX gaphics, 1TB SSD, 32GB of DDR memory, and much more.

Alienware X17 gaming laptop

Alienware X17 gaming laptop: Win11 pre-installed

Over at Lenovo, this week the company announced that all devices in its ThinkBook and ThinkPad laptops are now being offered with Win11 pre-loaded.

Lenovo this week also introduced a new Win11 laptop, the ThinkBook 15p Gen 2 ITH. Under the hood you’ll find an 11th gen Intel Core H-series mobile processor. Options include Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, dual SSD storage, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, and a full HD webcam. Prices haven’t been announced yet.

HP is going great guns on Windows 11, too. Just last month it introduced nearly a dozen Win11 devices. These include the new HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop.

This 16-inch device features a 5 megapixel camera, 11th gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, and Wi-Fi 6. Battery life is said to last 17 hours. A feature called Glam Cam lets you correct the lighting and touch up skin, teeth and eyes. This new HP Spectre will retail for $1,640 and up.

This new HP laptop is also “green.” It’s made from recycled CNC (computer numerical control) aluminum. And the speaker box is made with ocean-bound plastic.

Microsoft of course is supporting Win11 on several of its Surface Pro devices. That includes the Surface Pro 8, a 13-inch laptop with up to 1TB of SSD storage and 32GB of memory. Prices range from about $1,100 to $2,600.

Are your customers asking about Windows 11? Now you have some answers for them.



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