Microsoft?s reference platform for the ideal PC is based on the Cyrix Media GX processor, now adopted by Compaq,it emerged today. The Simply Interactive PC specification, touted by Microsoft several months ago, will use expertise from chip designers from Cyrix.
The GX chip, developed by Cyrix and produced by other companies, is the basis of the new consumer PC from Compaq but is open to all PC makers and is independent of Cyrix' manufacturing relationship with IBM, according to Brendan Sherry, European managing director of the chip company.
He said that Cyrix had already released 120MHz and 133MHz versions of the Media GX family, but in the next quarter it will release 150MHz chips and, the quarter after that, 200MHz implementations.
?This is the reference platform for [Microsoft?s] Simply Interactive PC,? said Sherry. ?We decided to design a product then it became a reference platform.?
Next year, Sherry said, the small chip is likely to include 3D facilities. ?We took it out to the first tier [vendors] last June and that included Compaq,? he said. ?We have signed up Tatung and asked people in Taiwan to produce motherboards based on the design.?
But Compaq does not have a sole relationship with Cyrix, Sherry confirmed. Motherboards are now being produced by Samsung, LG (Lucky Goldstar), Mitac and others.
?This has the potential to develop a new market for PCs,? he said. By Christmas, there would be PCs with advanced multimedia capabilities costing around #750, he claims.
Compaq was merely the first of a slate of vendors to adopt the chip rather than more expensive offerings from Intel. He contrasted Compaq?s price for its Cyrix-based Presario 2010 with Intel-based offerings from Packard Bell and others. A Packard Bell 133MHz system costs #1,420 today and that made it uncompetive with the Compaq offering.
Meanwhile, IBM is expected to launch an Aptiva consumer PC model next Wednesday. According to a spokesperson, the pricing and other features will make it competitive against Compaq?s offering. He refused to say whether it will run on an Intel, PowerPC or Cyrix chip.
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