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Cyrix's MediaGX for Windows CE

Cyrix releases a 233-MHz version of its MediaGX processor and tries to create some momentum for the chip's adoption in Windows CE devices.

Cyrix released a 233-MHz version of its MediaGX processor and said it would try to foster the chip's adoption in Windows CE devices, making it the first Intel-compatible chipmaker to seek out this market.

The latest version of Cyrix's integrated processor comes after a series of design setbacks for the company. Both Compaq Computer and IBM scaled back their use of Cyrix products earlier this year.

Despite the reversals, the 233-MHz version of the MediaGX arrives with two design wins. The chip is available in the Amber line of consumer computers from IBM's Canadian division and in computers from CyberMax, a small vendor in Pennsylvania.

The introduction marks the first time Cyrix will try to convince manufacturers of Windows CE devices and set-top boxes to adopt the chip, according to Stan Swearingen, Cyrix's senior director of management and marketing. Cyrix is a subsidiary of National Semiconductor.

In related news, Bsquare, a Seattle-based software vendor, will release a kit Monday that will allow hardware manufacturers adopt the MediaGX for handheld devices more easily and rapidly than they could do on their own, a spokeswoman for Bsquare said.

Cyrix is working with any CE device vendors, according to a Cyrix spokeswoman. The Bsquare adapter kit, however, clears a path for development.

The MediaGX was the processor inside the Compaq Presario 2000 series, which many say ignited the sub-$1,000 PC craze. But despite the success of Cyrix boxes, Compaq dropped the MediaGX from its low-cost consumer desktops at the beginning of this year because the Richardson, Texas-based chipmaker could not guarantee volume quantities of the 233-MHz version of the processor, according to company executives.

Compaq, which still uses the MediaGX in one notebook, mostly uses K6 processors from Advanced Micro Devices in its low-end consumer desktops.

Similarly, IBM stopped using 6X86 processors from Cyrix in low-end desktops in favor of K6 chips.