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August 12, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

It’s not quite in the same class as the new set from Chips & Technologies because it cuts off at 12.5MHz and not 16MHz (CI No 744) but Faraday Electronics Inc, the Sunnyvale OEM board and chip-level manufacturer now owned by Western Digital Corp also has an enhanced chip set to implement an AT-alike cheaply – and another to do an 8086 machine to match or beat the IBM Personal System/2 Model 30. The five-part AT set provides all necessary core logic, memory and input-output control to build a full AT motherboard, and paves the way for onboard inclusion of Western Digital’s standard peripheral, communications and video single chip controllers. The FE3500 chip set comprises the FE3000A AT CPU Control Logic, with processor and co-processor support logic, wait state generator logic, 256K-bit and 1M-bit RAM support logic, and operates at 6MHz to 12.5MHz clock speeds. The FE3010 AT Peripheral Control Logic contains 15 interrupt channels, three timer channels, seven DMA channels and supports both 256K and 1M memory chips. It also supports DMA operations at 8MHz. The FE3020 AT Address Buffer includes memory read/write control buffers. The FE3030 Data Buffer has the AT system data buffers and control logic and the FE3040 Input-Output Manager chip consolidates enhanced multi-speed control logic and decode/mapping logic into a single device, and under software control can synchronously change system clock speeds from 8MHz to 12.5MHz, and has a decoupled peripheral bus that supports programmable bus speeds and wait states so that local operations can be at full CPU speed with only selected bus accesses running at slower compatibility speeds for enhanced compatible performance over the AT. It maps the BIOS from slower ROM to faster RAM space and splits the 8-bit EGA BIOS into 16 bits for faster execution, and also provides a Hot Reset for software conversion from protected mode to real mode without a hard reset. The set takes up 35 square inches, leaving room for things like standardised floppy, hard disk, video, communications and imaging control – and parent Western Digital has the appropriate chips for those functions. The FE3500 set costs $95 for 1,000-up; samples now. The new FE2400, is a two-chip core logic set for 8086-based XT-alikes that replaces 96 components. It operates at clock rates from 4.77MHz to 9.54MHz, takes 640Kb with 256K or 64K chips. It consists of the FE2010A PC Bus and Peripheral Controller and the FE2030 XT Address and Data Buffer Circuit and costs $47 for 1,000-up.

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