This initiative portends considerable changes in the PC landscape because it signals an aggressive move by Intel into one of the last major PC chip markets that the company doesn't dominate. It may also set the stage for a push by Intel into graphics hardware.
"This is definitely going to make waves," said a source familiar with the rollout.
Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) specification will define a technology for "enabling high-performance, 3D graphics on the 1997 volume desktop PC," Intel said.
Intel will also describe its view of a "balanced system architecture" combining its multimedia MMX technology with AGP-based graphics chips to deliver high-performance systems at low prices, the company said.
Recently, relatively low-end 3D graphics technology--mostly for games--has been introduced into PCs, but these systems are often plagued by high prices and designs ill-suited for full-fledged 3D graphics. The technology is targeted at a separate graphics chip for handling 3D, Intel said.
Intel is working with graphics chip companies such as S3, but this specification could ultimately pave the way for Intel to include graphics functions in its chipsets or other hardware, sources said.
"I can see them adding graphics functions to their chipsets. When it makes sense for Intel to do it, they'll do it," one source said.