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  1. Technology
February 25, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

– Palo Alto Products International Inc, one of the companies behind the set of concept PCs Intel showed off at the Forum on Tuesday, last month formed a joint venture with Delta Electronics Inc, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer power supplies. The two plan to offer integrated bare bones computer systems to computer manufacturers worldwide, using Delta’s recently established million-square-foot campus in Thailand, capable of integrating up to 50,000 bare bones PC systems per month.

– Intel Corp has introduced its first technology to help enable instantly-available PCs. Intel’s STR Suspend to RAM technology for its motherboards, puts PCs into a power-saving sleep-state during idle periods, ready for restart in a few seconds. Due to be implemented on selected motherboards during the first half of this year, the technology is an implementation of the ACPI Advanced Configuration and Power Interface 1.0 specification and Instantly Available PC design guidelines. The specification defines the S3 sleep state for lowest power consumption while the system context is maintained in system memory. It will need an ACPI-enabled operating system (such as Windows 98) to run. Sample motherboards are available now.

– The Intel Celeron processors and associated chipsets are now also available as part of Intel’s embedded processor product line at 300- and 366-MHz clock speeds. Embedded processors must typically be supported for longer life cycles than parts aimed at the PC market. Intel’s Embedded Microprocessor Division is hoping to capture more of the exploding market for applied computing devices such as set-top boxes, communications devices, transaction terminals and industrial PCs, and is now supporting embedded lifecycles for graphics, flash memory, bridge chips and networking components, along with both Intel Architecture and StrongARM CPUs are cores. It promises to reveal additional instructions for StrongARM that support digital television applications in the near future.

– Phoenix Technologies Ltd’s pre-boot SecureAgent technology (see separate story) might well usher in a new era in computer security technology where if users forget their passwords they have to throw away their PC.

– An industry working group has been formed to produce the Developer’s Interface Guide for IA-64 servers. Members include Compaq Computer Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, NEC Corp, 3Com, Intel Corp, Interphase, LSI Logic, Mylex Corp, NCG, Oracle Corp, Phoenix Technologies Ltd, Q Logic, Santa Cruz Operation, Siemens AG and Sun Microsystems Inc. An initial version of the guide is due for industry review in the third quarter, with products designed around the guidelines expected early in 2000.

– Intel has extended the temperature ranges its Pentium processors with MMX can safely operate at for in-car use. Along with the 430TX PCIset chipset, the parts will run in temperatures ranging from below minus 40 degrees Celsius to plus 85 degrees Celsius ambient. Visteon Inc, a mobile electronics components supplier, said it would be using the parts for future in-car computing applications, which are likely to be employed for the purposes of navigation, communication, entertainment, security and news, traffic and weather updates, and will be operated by speech recognition.

– The seven year-old PCI local bus now supports PCI-Hot-Plug with the release of the latest specification, v2.2. Using the new spec, adapter cards can be inserted and removed without having to shut the system down. PCI, first released in 1992, is now described as a mature standard, and v2.2 is seen primarily as a clarification release that maintains existing stability. There are revisions to the PCI-to-PCI Bridge specification and a new version of the Mobile Design Guide. PCI-X, the proposed high- performance extension of the PCI local bus specification aimed at workstations and servers, is currently under development by the PCI-X working group, part of the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Inte

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rest Group, based in Hillsboro, Oregon. Mini PCI, for small form-factor systems, is also under development, and specification reviews for both are expected next quarter. There are over 60 million PCI cards currently installed in PCs worldwide, says the group.

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