Dell for the first time is using an Intel processor in its Wyse thin clients, which are used as alternatives to enterprise PCs.

The Wyse Intel-based 3000 series thin client, which starts at $429 and is available now, runs on a dual-core Celeron processor based on the Bay Trail architecture. The entry-level thin client offers 3D graphics, said Dan O'Farrell, senior director for product marketing, cloud client computing at Dell.

The dual-core Bay Trail chip in the Intel-based thin client "packs enterprise-grade performance," Dell said.

The Intel-based thin client has Microsoft's Windows Embedded Standard 7 OS. It can run most virtual desktop or cloud applications, but not high-end multimedia applications that are typically offloaded to workstation-style clients, O'Farrell said.

"We're not targeting it at the high-end power users," O'Farrell said.

Dell's 3000-series thin clients currently have ARM and Advanced Micro Devices processors, but the Intel chip will represent a significant performance upgrade, O'Farrell said. Bay Trail chips are largely used in tablets, but higher-performing versions have been used in low-cost laptops and desktops.

The Intel-based thin client provides four times the application performance and two times the graphics performance of its predecessor, Wyse C-class C90LE7, O'Farrell said.

It also has 16GB of flash storage, 4GB of DDR3 memory and Gigabit Ethernet. It connects to monitors through a serial port or DVI display connector.

Thin clients are virtual desktops with minimal hardware that can run applications from a server on a centralized network instead of locally the way PCs operate. More processing power is now being included on thin clients to take processing load off servers.