Faster processors, broadband and an increasing number of devices will lead to a fundamental rethink in the design of computer systems, according to Intel.
At a technology roundtable dubbed 'Techapoloza', the chip giant discussed some of the current and future developments likely to change PCs.
Already some motherboard manufacturers have abandoned all external ports except FireWire and USB. But, according to Intel, the longer term changes will be internal.
Manufacturers are adopting technologies like PCI Express in order to prepare for the next generation of computer users.
The new technology, which will be built into PCs from next year, will speed up data transfer rates tenfold as outdated internal parallel connectors are replaced by faster serial connections.
This will also affect the familiar PCMCIA card, which is due to be replaced by the so-called 'Newcard'.
This form of removable media is half the width of existing PC cards, has fewer connectors, which will make it more reliable, and is on average six times faster at data transfer.
Speaking at the roundtable, Pat Gelsinger, Intel's chief technology officer, said: "The pace of innovation is going to be speeding up, not slowing down."
Other advances soon to impact on consumers include:
- Universal plug-and-play technology that will simplify connecting hardware, with a single standard allowing connection between PCs, handheld devices and home entertainment systems like personal video recorders.
- New protocols in the second half of this year will make Wi-Fi connections more secure and allow easier switching between base stations.
- Bluetooth is reaching takeoff point as new frequency balancing protocols in version 1.2 eliminate conflicts with 802.11b networks and increase the security of the radio link.
- Other radio technologies, including ultra wide band connections that allow huge data transfer rates over short distances, are being developed for audio/visual applications.
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