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February 16, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Intel yesterday dismissed claims that its next generation I/O architecture is slower than a rival technology developed jointly by Compaq Computer Corp, IBM Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co and said that executives who made the claims had got their facts wrong. Speaking to ComputerWire Tuesday, Mitch Shults, Intel’s director of server platform marketing said that Intel’s NGIO (Next Generation Input/Output) server architecture could operate just as fast as Future I/O and that IBM and its partners should look to overall speed throughput when making comparisons about speed. The specs have been available since November, he said, they’ve got their facts wrong. Earlier this week, Karl Walker, VP of technical development at Compaq said that Intel’s NGIO allows data to be transferred at 1 Gigabit per second whereas Future I/O carries it sixteen times faster, with a total peak bandwidth of 2 Gigabytes per link. But Shults insisted that wasn’t the case. While he admitted that the base specification was slower than Future I/O, at half a Gigabyte per second, he said it was simple, and cheaper, to bundle multiple links together. You could bundle up to five together to get a throughput of 10 Gigabytes, that’s up to the vendor, he said. Moreover, Shults said it would cost less to aggregate links in the NGIO system than with Future I/O. It’s their physical electronics, he explained, the Future I/O spec has 40 pins in its connector where as NGIO only uses four and that makes it easier to aggregate links. Shults added that Intel was still in talks with IBM, Compaq and HP but the chances of them converging their specifications into one, common I/O architecture were very slim. He said there was no fundamental reason why the two groups couldn’t come to an agreement but added that Intel wasn’t slowing down an inch. The company still plans to release the first version of the NGIO spec by the end of this quarter and products incorporating the architecture are due some time next year, Shults added. Someone’s got to decide…..we’d love them to join us, there’s plenty of room, he said. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Compaq said the company will today issue a statement detailing which companies have lent their support to its Future I/O specification. The group held a developers forum last week to rally support for the architecture and 60 companies have reportedly endorsed the spec already.

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