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EdTech: Check out the latest training courses from Intel Partner University

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by Peter Krass on 01/26/2022
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Education technology is hot. Do you have the skills and knowledge to get in?

Yesterday’s skills won’t do because EdTech has been transformed by the pandemic. Remote learning, once merely an interesting idea, is now the norm. Ditto for giving every student a Chromebook or PC.

Those changes translate into a lot of business — and a lot of money. Last year global EdTech sales approached $255 billion, according to Arizton Advisory & Intelligence. Looking ahead, the market researcher expects EdTech sales to grow by an average of 15.5% a year through 2027, when total worldwide sales should reach $605.4 billion.

Remote learning

Need new skills for the fast-changing, fast-growing EdTech market? Intel Partner University is here to help. Check out these 4 new online courses:

Multitasking in the Virtual U.S. K-12 Classroom

In this course you’ll learn about the research and recommendations from the Intel-commissioned 2021 Multitasking in the Virtual Classroom study.

The study quantifies how powerful Intel processors have a significant impact on the ability of educators and students to experience and participate in a seamless, synchronous virtual learning experience. (20 minutes; 5 credits)

eSports Opportunities U.S. Higher Ed

Ready to explore the world of collegiate eSports — and how Intel helps to drive growth with technology, events, and partnerships? This class will show you how. You’ll also learn how you can partner with Intel to drive growth in your own eSports business. (20 minutes; 5 credits)

The Right Devices for U.S. K-12 Education

Learn about the transformation that’s happening in education and the workplace. Then discover how you can best equip students with the devices they’ll use today to develop the skills for tomorrow. (20 minutes; 5 credits)

AI and the Future of Work

Take this course to learn how Intel collaborates with community colleges to provide over 200 hours of Artificial Intelligence content in a “train the trainer” model.

It’s all done through Intel’s AI for Workforce Program, a program being adopted by community colleges across the United States. This program, part of Intel's Digital Readiness portfolio, equips current and future workers with key AI skills.

In this course you’ll also discover how Intel can support your customers in building and implementing this program. (20 minutes; 5 credits)

Browse more EdTech courses from Intel Partner University.

> Not yet a member of Intel Partner Alliance? Learn more about Intel Partner Alliance and register to join.

 

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Join Intel partner webinar & learn where managed services are headed

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by Peter Krass on 01/25/2022
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The new year has a lot in store: AI, hybrid worker security, cloud security, and more. How will you tell your customers about the impact of these technology transformations? And how will you position your own solutions to gain business this year?

To get started, join Intel for an exclusive partner webinar. Entitled “Where is Managed Services Heading in 2022?” this webinar is happening on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET.

The speaker: Eric Townsend, director of SMB and MSP marketing at Intel. During this webinar, Eric will discuss what he sees as the 5 biggest technology transformations happening in 2022.

Eric Townsend

Eric Townsend of Intel

There’s more: Join this webinar live, and you’ll be automatically entered in a drawing for a special Intel-branded prize pack. The winners will be announced live during the webinar.

Attend live and you’ll also earn 7 training credits toward your company’s Intel Partner Alliance annual training requirement. Attend the webinar later on-demand, and you’ll earn 5 credits.

This webinar is part of a series of Intel Partner Alliance webinars for North America. Join the webinar on Jan. 27 and learn where managed services are heading this year.

> Check out the Jan. 27 webinar, “Where is Managed Services Heading in 2022?” and register to attend.

> Not yet an Intel Partner Alliance member? Discover the benefits and sign up today.

 

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5 top takeaways from Intel’s latest IDM 2.0 moves

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by Peter Krass on 01/21/2022
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Intel today announced bold new moves in its IDM 2.0 strategy.

The IDM 2.0 strategy, announced by Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger last March, calls for Intel to become a major provider of foundry services for other companies in the United States and Europe.

As part of that strategy, Intel made 5 big moves today:

1. Intel CEO Gelsinger appeared side-by-side with President Biden this morning at a White House press conference, “A Future Made in America.” Gelsinger said this was “a historic day for Intel — and the global semiconductor industry.” (Watch the press conference video replay.)

Pat Gelsinger speaking at White House press conference, Jan. 21, 2022

2. Gelsinger announced Intel’s plan to invest more than $20 billion to build 2 new semiconductor factories on a “mega-fab” site in Licking County, Ohio, outside the city of Columbus. Initially, the project will create 3,000 full-time Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs, he said.

3. To support the project, Intel will commit an additional $100 million to form partnerships with local colleges and universities to train new talent and bolster research.

4. At 1,000 acres, the Ohio site is big enough for 6 more fabs, which would bring the total to 8 fabs. Assuming Intel builds these additional manufacturing plants, the company says its total investment in the Ohio site could reach $100 billion over the next 10 years.

5. Intel has persuaded 4 companies to support the new Ohio chip fabs by establishing a presence in the region: Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean. More companies are expected to join these 4 in the future.

 

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Get into the fast-growing gaming biz with Intel NUC

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by Peter Krass on 01/21/2022
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Searching for a tech market that’s growing fast? Then look into gaming.

Looking for gaming hardware that can give your customers a competitive edge? Then check out the Intel NUC family.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme

You probably know that Intel NUCs are ideal for business applications such as conferencing and digital signage. But did you know these small compute devices are also perfect for high-performance gaming?

Gaming hardware: a fast-growing market

For tech providers, being able to offer a new hardware option for gaming is a big deal. Because gaming hardware is a big business. And it’s quickly getting even bigger.

Over the next 3 years, global sales of videogame hardware —  mobile devices, consoles and PCs — will increase on average by 8% a year, predicts market watcher Technavio.

By 2025, Technavio adds, all that compound growth will bring gaming hardware sales to nearly $75.5 billion worldwide. That’s a lot of “Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond.”

What’s behind the gaming market’s fast growth? Well, gamers are always looking for a competitive edge. And one big edge is hardware.

Intel NUCs for gaming

Whether you already serve gaming customers or just want to get into the business, the Intel NUC can help. These compact devices can give your gaming customers a big hardware advantage.

They’re powered by 11th gen Intel Core processors, include discrete graphics options and offer a range of I/Os. Plus, all Intel NUC devices are backed by Intel’s 3-year warranty.

Here’s a look at Intel NUC devices you can offer your gaming customers.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit

Small but powerful, the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit features your customer’s choice of an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 or i9 processor. It’s also the first Intel NUC to support full-size (12 in.) dual-slot high-performance graphics cards.

For a wow factor, there’s also customizable underglow lighting with a replaceable RGB front logo.

Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC and Kits

The Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC is powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor in a small and sleek chassis. You’ll also get NVIDIA GeForce RTX2060 Discrete Graphics for a smooth, immersive gaming experience.

It’s small enough to fit on any desk. So your customers can game where and when they want.

Intel NUC X15 Laptop Kits

With your choice of an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 or i5 processor, plus an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series GPU, these laptop kits power elite experiences for enthusiast gamers.

This laptop kit also gives gamers up to 10 hours of battery life. Connectivity options include Thunderbolt 4, USB 4.0 Type-C, and DisplayPort.

You customize the predesigned kit with your choice of memory, storage and OS — then add your own brand.

Get into gaming hardware with Intel NUC:

> Browse Intel partner sales tools and marketing assets for Intel NUC Mini PCs, kits and boards

> Watch this Intel Partner University on-demand webinar: Win with 11th Gen Intel NUC Mini PCs and Laptops for Gaming

Gain new skills with these 2 Intel Partner University courses:

> Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kits: Legends Start Here

> Intel NUC X15 Laptop Kit

Not yet an Intel Partner Alliance member? Check out the benefits and sign up today.

 

 

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2022 Blueprint for Success: Leverage Intel Partner Financing

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by Peter Krass on 01/18/2022
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What would you say to an incremental, 60-day and interest-free credit line for purchasing Intel components?

It’s now on offer from Intel Partner Financing.

Available to all members of the Intel Partner Alliance, this financing plan is administered by DLL, a global vendor finance company. It’s designed to help Intel partners bridge the gap between their purchase of Intel components and their customers’ payments.

David Allen of Intel

David Allen of Intel

To learn more about the program, we spoke recently with David Allen, Intel’s director of distribution for the U.S. Here’s an edited version of our conversation.

What was the impetus for Intel Partner Financing?

In the beginning of the pandemic, back around the second quarter of 2020, we saw a huge surge in people buying technology, components and devices. What we heard from our partners is that they were buying so much for their customers, they were hitting the limit of their credit lines.

So to help, we went to DLL, a long-time partner of ours and a long-time friend of the channel. Together, Intel and DLL created a program that enables incremental and extended credit flow to our partners. For an Intel partner that’s already been deemed creditworthy by a distributor, this goes beyond that.

Given everything that’s going on with the pandemic — product shortages, more product orders, customers taking longer to pay — we find it’s been really timely.

How does Intel Partner Financing work?

First, it’s a separate credit line that partners can use to buy Intel components. That could be Intel CPUs, Intel NUCs, Intel server products — any of our Intel components available through our authorized distributors.

Second, the Intel credit does not affect other credit lines partners may already have with a distributor. That’s why we say it’s entirely incremental.

Then, with DLL and Intel stepping in to provide an incremental credit facility, the bill comes due in 60 days. The good news is, Intel is picking up the tab for that 60-day interest-free financing. So assuming you pay within that 60-day limit, Intel pays the associated program fees.

Now, if you want to go beyond those 60 days, that’s a separate conversation with DLL and the distributor. That’s outside our domain. That said, we find that for the majority of our partners, the 60-day timeline works well.

What’s the process?

It’s pretty simple. A partner applies for credit, and their application goes in via the distributor to DLL. Once DLL approves a partner’s application, the partner buys from the distributor as they usually do. The 5 participating distributors are TechData, Synnex, ASI, Ingram Micro and D&H.

Next, the distributor ships the part to the partner, then invoices DLL for the payment. DLL pays the distributor, and then the partner pays DLL with 60 days. As I mentioned, Intel takes care of the fees. We want to ensure this works well for the partner as well as for the distributor.

Intel Partner Financing chart

It’s worth noting that DLL is a wonderful partner. They have a level of flexibility that’s great. Plus, they’re open to discussing options and other arrangements with partners. DLL has been a preferred financing partner across the channel for many years, and they were a natural choice for this project.

Can a partner be too big or too small for this financing?

A few very big national retailers and solution providers will be considered ineligible for this financing, but they’re the exception.

As far as small partners go, there’s really no limit. A partner does have to show that they’re creditworthy, and that’s up to DLL to determine. But we’re not looking only for big accounts. In fact, we’d like to see a balance of large, midsize and smaller accounts.

How big is the program now? And what do you plan for the future?

Last year, the value of sales that went through the program exceeded $100 million. And we had the participation of well over 100 partners.

Looking ahead, we see this as a multiyear program. We want more partners and more financing. We’re expanding the program geographically, too. We’ll do more in Canada, where partner financing has so far been limited. We also plan to launch the financing program in Mexico.

If a partner is interested, how do they get started?

Just go to the Intel Partner Financing landing page. This will give you a quick description of how the program works and what the benefits are. Then click a link to one of our authorized distributors. It’s that simple.

Learn more:

> Check out Intel Partner Financing.

> Not yet an IPA member? Learn more about Intel Partner Alliance and register today.

> Check out these other 2022 Blueprint for Success posts:

     > Partner marketing made easy

     > Build your credentials with Intel training

 

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Meet Intel’s 2 newest execs: CFO and GM of client computing

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by Peter Krass on 01/17/2022
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Intel has brought in the new year by appointing two new senior executives: a new head of client computing and a new chief financial officer.

Intel’s new head of client computing, Michelle Johnston Holthaus, is a company insider. But the new CFO, David Zinsner, was recruited from Micron Technology, where he also held the CFO position.

Meet the two new Intel executives:

David Zinsner, CFO

David Zinsner’s new titles at Intel are executive VP and CFO. Both positions are effective as of today, Jan. 17. Zinsner reports directly to Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.

David Zinsner

David Zinsner, Intel’s new CFO

Zinsner is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in tech. He’s held both financial and operational roles in semiconductors and manufacturing.

Prior to working at Micron, Zinsner was president and chief operating officer of Affirmed Networks, which offers cloud-native communications for service providers and is now a unit of Microsoft.

Before that, Zinsner was senior VP of finance at integrated circuit maker Analog Devices, where he helped manage several acquisitions, including Linear Technology. And before that, Zinsner was CFO at Intersil Corp., where he was part of the team that took the company public in 2000.

On the education front, Zinsner has earned an MBA from the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt University, and a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Carnegie Mellon.

Zinsner replaces Intel’s previous CFO, George Davis, who previously said he would retire this coming May. Until then, however, Davis plans to remain with Intel in an advisory role, assisting Zinsner in his transition.

Michelle Johnston Holthaus, GM of client computing

Holthaus is now an Intel executive VP and GM of the client computing group. With Intel for 26 years, she was most recently the company’s GM of sales, marketing and communications.

Michelle Johnston Holthaus

Michelle Johnston Holthaus

In her earlier roles at Intel, Holthaus was head of global client computing sales, lead of the Microsoft account team, and manager of channel products. Her first job at Intel, started in 1996, was as program manager of OEM platform solutions.

Holthaus has been recognized by CRN’s Women of the Channel award three times.

Holthaus replaces Gregory “GB” Bryant, Intel's previous GM of client computing who surprised industry watchers by announcing his resignation last week. That was just days after he introduced key products at the CES 2022 conference, including new members of the 12th gen Intel Core processor family. Bryant joined Intel 30 years ago, back in 1992.

Holthaus’s previous role as head of sales, marketing and comms has not yet been filled. Intel says a search for her successor is still underway.

 

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Research roundup: PC sales – Q4:21 and looking ahead

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by Peter Krass on 01/14/2022
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While much about Covid-19 is subject to debate, one thing about the pandemic surely isn’t: It’s been really good for the PC business.

With so many people working from home, studying from home, or just stuck at home, new desktops, laptops, workstations and Chromebooks have been flying off the shelves.

The new question is whether strong demand for PCs will continue. With the pandemic approaching the 2-year mark, doesn’t everyone who needed a new PC have one by now?

Full year was strong 

First, let’s look back. Last year was another strong year for PC sales. For the full year 2021, global shipments rose by either 10% or 15%, depending on who you ask and how you count.

Analyst firm Gartner says the year’s PC shipments increased 9.9%, for a global total of 339.8 million units. But in that count, Gartner includes Chromebooks.

Market watcher IDC, which does not include Chromebooks in its tally, says full-year 2021 PC shipments rose by a much higher 14.8%, for a total of 348.8 million units worldwide.

Either way, that’s strong.

Over at analyst company Canalys, senior analyst Ishan Dutt called 2021 a “watershed year in the history of the PC market.”

Mainly, that’s because instead of just replacing older PCs, the industry shipped new PCs to people who previously didn’t use them. These customers included students and remote workers.

Q4:21 tells a different story

However, look at last year’s fourth quarter, and the story shifts. Both IDC and Canalys agree that shipments rose a mild 1%. Gartner, again including Chromebooks, says global Q4 shipments actually fell, and by a rapid 5%.

Gartner’s inclusion of Chromebooks appears to be a deciding factor. Schools, the biggest customers for Chromebooks, appear to have had their fill. Gartner says demand for Chromebooks in Q4:21 “collapsed.”

Combine that with supply-chain issues, and you’ve got what Gartner research director Mikako Kitagawa calls “the end of massive growth in PC demand triggered by the pandemic.”

U.S. market saw demand fall

Even market watchers who say PC shipments in Q4 rose globally concede that U.S. sales tanked. Gartner goes as far as calling it a “sharp decline.”

Market watchers agree the U.S. downturn was caused by a combination of supply-chain issues, the aforementioned drop in Chromebook demand, and weak consumer demand over the holidays.

How bad was it? According to Gartner, pretty bad. It says PC shipments in the U.S. during Q4:21 fell 24% from the year-earlier quarter.

Lenovo really felt it. The company’s global PC shipments dropped nearly 12% in Q4, due mainly to weak U.S. demand, according to Gartner. Similarly, HP’s Q4 shipments of PCs fell 4% worldwide.

Dell snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Its Q4:21 shipments of PCs worldwide rose nearly 8%.

And in the U.S., Dell secured the top spot in Q4 with a 28.5% market share of unit shipments, according to Gartner. Number 2 in the U.S. was HP (25.9% share), followed by Lenovo (15%) and Apple (13%).

Looking ahead

How’s the PC future look? Again, it depends on who you ask.

Gartner expects PC demand to drop for at least the next 2 years.

By contrast, Canalys believes 2022 will be a year of “digital acceleration.” That means spending will shift to premium PCs, monitor and other work-from-anywhere tech.

IDC has a mixed outlook. On the one hand, it acknowledges that both education and consumer demand for PCs is tapering. But the market watcher also believes the PC market has essentially “reset” itself, and at a much higher level than before the pandemic.

 

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Check out new PCs galore from CES 2022

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by Peter Krass on 01/05/2022
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This year’s big CES conference in Las Vegas isn’t quite as big as the organizers had hoped. Yet that hasn’t stopped leading PC vendors.

Due to the pandemic, some tech companies are attending CES 2022 only virtually, and some aren’t attending at all. Also, the event’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Assn., is closing the show one day earlier than originally planned — this Friday — also due to the pandemic.

Yet just about all the top-tier PC vendors are using CES 2022 to introduce new PCs. Many are Windows 11 systems powered by the new 12th gen Intel Core processors.

Here’s your tech provider’s roundup of selected highlights.

ACER

Acer just introduced new and revamped gaming desktops and laptops, and a “green” environmentally-aware laptop.

Acer’s Predator Orion 3000 series gaming desktops are brand new. These Win11 mid-range gaming systems feature 12th gen Intel Core processors (up to i7), Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, 64GB of DDR4 mem, and 2TB of SSD storage. This box will ship in February with retail prices starting at about $2,000.

Acer Predator Orion 300 series gaming desktop

Acer Predator Orion 3000 series

Acer also revamped its high-end gaming desktop, the Predator Orion 5000 series. These systems now feature Windows 11 and 12th gen Intel Core processors, up to i7. You’ll also get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, up to 64GB of DDR5 memory, and up to 2TB of SSD storage. Shipments are set for February, and retail prices will start at about $2,600.

Also revamped are 3 Acer gaming laptops, all gaining the new 12th gen Intel Core processors. These are the Predator Triton 500 SE, Predator Helios 300, and Nitro 5. Shipments are set for the spring, and retail prices will start at $2,300 for the Triton; $1,650 for the Helios; and $1,040 for the Nitro.

Acer’s new “green” PC is the Vero National Geographic Edition laptop. Each purchase of this system will help to support the National Geographic Society’s exploration, research and education.

Acer Vero National Geographic Edition laptop

Vero National Geographic Edition laptop

The laptop’s chassis is 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. The keycaps are 50% PCR plastic. The inner packaging is a reusable box. And the packaging includes 85% recycled paper and a 100% industrial recycled plastic laptop sleeve.

U.S. pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but in France this Acer laptop will sell for €900 (roughly $1,016) starting in March.

ASUS

The company today announced lots of gaming hardware. A notable new addition is the ROG Strix SCAR, a Win11 gaming laptop with up to 12th gen Intel Core i9-12900H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR gaming laptop

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR gaming laptop

You also get Dolby Vision HDR for full-spectrum visuals, a large trackpad, 4 speakers with Dolby Atmos spatial sound, and AI-powered noise-cancellation filters for both incoming and outgoing communications.

Pricing and shipping dates haven’t been announced yet.

HP

HP announced over a dozen devices — including PCs, monitors and webcams — all designed for the new world of hybrid work.

“Hybrid changed everything,” says HP’s president of personal systems, Alex Cho. “We now have more freedom to be productive and creative from anywhere.”

Among the new devices is the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, which HP says is the most advanced CB for business. It’s powered by Intel vPro processor tech.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebooks

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook in use

This HP Chromebook uses a “haptic trackpad” said to give greater responsiveness and accuracy. The Chromebook is also enhanced by HP Presence, a portfolio of collaboration and conferencing solutions

Shipments are set for April; retail prices have not yet been announced.

LENOVO

Lenovo announced two new “green” laptops, the ThinkPad Z13 and ThinkPad Z16.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z16

Lenovo ThinkPad Z16

On both, the packaging is made from a mix of 100% recycled materials and compostable bamboo and sugarcane. The AC power adapter uses 90% post-consumer content.

Otherwise, these are pretty standard 13.3-inch and 16-inch laptops running Windows 11.

Shipments are set for May, with retail prices starting at roughly $1,550 for the Z13 and $2,100 for the Z16.

 

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Intel moves closer to ubiquitous computing with new client processors

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by Peter Krass on 01/04/2022
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Intel today moved closer to one of its 4 “superpowers” with several client-tech announcements via a virtual press conference at CES 2022 in Las Vegas.

The conference was led by Gregory “GB” Bryant, Intel’s GM of client computing. As he explained, today’s new products, specifications and partnerships move Intel closer to one of its 4 “superpowers” – ubiquitous compute. (The other 3 are cloud-to-cloud infrastructure, pervasive connectivity and AI.)

Here’s your tech provider’s roundup of Intel’s client-side announcements today.

12th Gen Core S-series and H-series

Last fall Intel introduced the 12th gen Core desktop processors. Today, the company expanded the line by announcing the 12th Gen Core “Alder Lake” S-series and H-series.

The S-series is designed for IoT applications. To support that, it features ultra-HD graphics and supports both PCIe 5.0 connectivity and DDR5 memory. CPU performance reaches 5.5 GHz in single-core Turbo mode, Intel says.

12th gen Intel Core H-series

12th gen Intel Core H-series processor

The H-series processors extend the 12th gen Intel Core processors to laptops. Built on Intel 7 process tech, the H-series processors pack up to 14 cores for performance of up to 5 GHz.

The H-series is led by a flagship model, the i9-12900HK. Intel says that, when compared with the previous generation, this new i9 CPU delivers up to 40% more gaming performance and up to 28% faster game play.

Intel has already shipped the new processors to select OEM partners including Acer, Dell and HP. For the rest of us, the S-series will ship later this month, and the H-series in April.

12th gen P-series

Intel today also expanded the 12th gen Core processors with the new P-series. These CPUs are designed for ultralight, ultrathin laptops used for gaming, high-bandwidth workloads, and content creation.

The P-series debuts with 6 models. Laptops with P-series processors are either available now or coming soon from OEMs including Acer, HP and Lenovo.

GPUs shipping

Lisa Pearce, Intel’s VP of visual compute, announced today that Intel’s Arc GPU is now shipping to OEM partners.

In fact, it’s already in more than 50 mobile and desktop systems, including those from Alienware and Lenovo.

Intel Arc GPUs

Intel Arc GPUs

Pearce said the Arc GPU is especially powerful when combined with 12th gen Intel Core processors. To that end, Intel today also introduced a new product line called Intel DeepLink.

The first offering in the line is called Dynamic Power Share. It can shift power to either the CPU or GPU, depending on which component needs more oomph at any given moment.

Coming next the DeepLink line, Pearce added, will be a video product called Intel Hyper Encode.

Intel Evo – new gen

But wait, there’s a little more: GB Bryant today also introduced the third generation of the Intel Evo spec.

Under the Evo lable, you can already find 100+ verified designs with OEM partners, all certified by Intel.

The new Intel Evo 3rd gen adds specs for Wi-Fi 6E, background-noise reduction, Intel’s connectivity performance suite, the 12th gen Core H-series, and Intel Arc GPUs.

 

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In the Zone

Upgrade your holiday reading with these 5 tech books

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by Peter Krass on 12/22/2021
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Taking time off between the holidays? In between bouts of playing Minecraft and binge-watching “Succession,” it’s also a great time to catch up on your tech reading.

Here are 5 books — all but 1 released in the last 12 months — that will bring up your holiday reading a notch or two.

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Play Nice But Win: A CEO’s Journey from Founder to Leader

By Michael Dell (Portfolio/Penguin, 2021)

Play Nice But Win by Michael Dell

Yes, that Michael Dell — the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies. The one who started what would become a multibillion-dollar business from his college dorm room. And the one who had to battle to keep the company going 30 years later.

In this business memoir, Dell recalls his mentors, competitors and enemies. And recounts the story of one of tech’s unlikeliest yet also biggest successes.

Free excerpt: “The year 2005 dawned bright for Dell Inc. Apart from the blip of the dot-com bust five years earlier — a correction that affected not just us but tech companies across the board — Dell had enjoyed a pretty uninterrupted run of growth in revenue and profits and cash flow for two decades.”

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The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects

By Andrew Chen (Harper Business, 2021)

The Cold Start Problem by Andrew Chen

The author, a former Uber exec and now a general partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, focuses here on what he calls the “dreaded cold start problem.” What’s that? Basically, the difficulty of getting a new software startup company to scale.

The solution is the “network effect,” which essentially means the more users you can gather, the more valuable your product or service becomes. Think of the way Google dominates search, Amazon dominates online retailing, and Spotify dominates music streaming, all with huge numbers of users. How does a startup do this? That’s what Chen explains in his 400-page tome.

Free excerpt: “Network effects are embedded into many of the most ubiquitous and successful tech products around us, in different variations. Products like eBay, OpenTable, Uber and Airbnb are examples of marketplace networks, comprising buyers and sellers.”

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NFTs for Dummies

By Tina Laurence and Seoyoung Kim (For Dummies, 2021)

NFTs for Dummies

No, you’re not a dummy, but come on, do you really understand nonfungible tokens? If not, and you’d like to, this book is for you. Like all titles in the longstanding “For Dummies” series, the book offers a straightforward explanation that assumes little or no pre-knowledge of digital investing.

Topics you’ll learn about include: how NFTs work, how to be sure you’re dealing with reputable buyers and sellers, how to find safe marketplaces, and the kinds of digital properties that can be converted into NFTs. Oh, yeah, and what “fungible” actually means.

Free excerpt: “Think of dollar bills, shares of Microsoft stock, and Bitcoin — each represent a defined set where items within the set are fungible. Put simply, we don’t care which dollar bills we receive as long as we receive the right quantity, since each dollar fulfills the same purpose and obligation as another.”

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Becoming a Data Head: How to Think, Speak and Understand Data Science, Statistics and Machine Learning

By Alex J. Gutman and Jordan Goldmeier (Wiley, 2021)

Becoming a Dead Head by Alex Gutman and Jordan Goldmeier

The authors, a pair of data scientists, want to help you become a data head — someone, that is, who thinks statistically, understands machine learning and AI, and accurately interprets data.

Free excerpt: “Many of us have been part of projects that went on too long. When expectations aren’t clear before the project starts, teams wind up attending meetings out of habit and generating reports no one bothers to read. Asking ‘When is the project over?’ before the project starts can break this trend.”

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Snow Crash

By Neal Stephenson (Random House, 2017)

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Okay, this isn’t a new book; originally published in 1992, it’s a cyberpunk sci-fi story to boot. But you want to learn more about the metaverse, right? Well, Stephenson is they guy credited with being the first person to use the term, and this is the book where he did it.

Pick up this novel, and get ready for one wild ride. The story somehow combines VR, Sumerian myth, and a pizza-delivery dude who’s also a warrior prince in — wait for it — the Metaverse.

Free excerpt: “The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He’s got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air.”

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