Intel Corp is building up to the formal launch of its Pentuim II processor in May, but there’s not a great deal more to say about what is basically a Pentium Pro with added MMX multimedia instructions. At Compaq Computer Corp’s Innovate 97 event in Houston this week, Intel chief executive Andy Grove told his keynote audience that the chip would be using the Intel DIB Dual Independent Bus, not really a surprise as the bus is already used in the PentiumPro itself. The bus, which together with the addition later this year of Intel’s Accelerated Graphics Port (CI No 3,130), will help address what Grove called the two valleys of death, namely processor-to-memory and processor-to-graphics bus bandwidth bottlenecks. It speeds up the data exchange between core processor and memory subsystems through the use of a separate Level 2 cache bus that’s twice as fast as the Level 2 cache on a Pentium, and a pipelined processor-to-main-memory system bus capable of simultaneous parallel transactions. Currently running at 66MHz, the system bus will be upgraded to 100MHz within the next year, said Intel. The Pentium II will be the basis for Intel’s proposed Visual Connected PC, which will also feature a broad use of the Internet, systems management software and a 100Mbit Ethernet networking interface. The Pentium II and its Dual Bus Architecture will be housed in a new package technology called the Single Edge Contact cartridge, which with its associated ‘Slot 1’ infrastructure will, says Intel provide the headroom for future high-performance processors. It also somewhat wrongfoots the established Socket 7 infrastructure supporters, including the likes of Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Cyrix Corp (CI No 3,132).