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Cyrix lands terminal deal

An alliance with terminal vendor Wyse marks Cyrix's entry into corporate computing.

Cyrix has landed a deal to provide microprocessors to terminal vendor Wyse, an alliance which marks Cyrix's entry into corporate computing.

The deal likely marks the first in a series of upcoming announcements between terminal vendors and makers of processors based around the Intel, or X86, architecture. Until now, terminal vendors have mostly relied on RISC-based processors.

But growth in the terminal market, the upcoming release of Microsoft's terminal software, and the need of X86 vendors to expand their markets are combining to force these parties into each other's arms.

At this month's PC Expo, Microsoft is expected to release its Hydra terminal software. Network Computing Devices will preview its first "lean client" terminals, which will be based around Pentium and later Pentium II processors, said sources at NCD. Meanwhile, Boundless will also release new X86-based terminals, said sources.

Under the Wyse-Cyrix deal, Wyse will adopt the integrated MediaGX processor for its Winterm 2000 series of Windows-based terminals, the company said. Wyse has agreed to buy 1 million of the processors over the next three years.

For Cyrix, the Wyse terminal will give the company a foothold in the corporate market. Cyrix chips are almost exclusively used in consumer or small business computers. The company's processors have not have much of a presence in the corporate market, a spokeswoman said. The MediaGX gained fame last year as the basis of the Compaq Presario 2000, the consumer computer often cited as the sparkplug for the sub-$1,000 PC market.

Adopting the MediaGX will permit Wyse to cut manufacturing costs, Wyse executives said. Integrated processors consolidate a number of functions that are typically handled by an array of chips into two chips. Wyse currently uses processors from AMD in its terminal products.

"In working with Cyrix, we have been able to develop the ultimate design center for thin client computing by offering what can be thought of as the first wave of 'terminal on a chip' technology for use by Wyse and all business partners," said Roy Graham, senior vice president at Wyse, in a prepared statement.

Wyse has also agreed to buy other components from National Semiconductor, which owns Cyrix.

The 2000 series of terminal spans a variety of price points, At the low end of the line sits the Winterm 2310 SE, which comes with no terminal and sells for around $600, said Jeff McNaught, general manager at Wyse. Other models come with built-in monitors or LCD screens and can cost up to $2,500.

Cyrix recently inked a deal with Packard Bellunder which that company will begin to incorporate Cyrix chips in computers costing $699.