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August 25, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Intel Corp is using its existing i960 processor as the basis for its second generation intelligent I/O chip, supporting its long- standing I20 intelligent input/output technology. Earlier this month, Intel introduced the i960RM and RN I/O processors, which it said would help break I/O bottlenecks in SCSI, RAID and high speed networking applications. Intel said performance improvements of up to 80% could be expected over the first generation i960 RP. The new chips include an integrated dataflow architecture that boosts the throughput required for I20 systems. Both chips have a 64-bit internal bus running at 66MHz, for throughput of up to 528Mbytes/sec, a new PCI-to PCI bridge, larger queues and a memory controller supporting 66MHz SDRAM. The RN has 64-bit primary and secondary external PCI bus interfaces, compared with 32-bit buses in the RM. Volume samples are expected later this year. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp, Novell Inc and the Santa Cruz Operation have all announced operating system service modules for I20, providing necessary software support for OEMs. Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc have said they will support I20 in their operating systems in the future. While Intel hopes its own chips will be used for most I20-based systems, others are underdevelopment using Alpha, ARM, MIPS and PowerPC cores. The first general products, from server companies and peripheral manufacturers such as Mylex Corp, are not expected to reach the market until some time next year.


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