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Grove lays out map for multimedia chip

Intel's Andrew Grove spells out the name of the P55C multimedia Pentium processor and a performance roadmap for Intel's MMX mutlimedia technology.

Intel president and CEO Andrew Grove divulged the official name of the P55C multimedia Pentium processor and spelled out a performance roadmap for Intel's MMX mutlimedia technology at the 1996 Macromedia International User Conference and Exhibition today.

The MMX-enabled P55C multimedia processor will be officially called "Pentium Processor with MMX Technology," said Grove in his speech.

This dispels rumors that the chip might be called something akin to "Pentium Plus" or get a short, exclusive name like the Pentium Pro. He also specified how the performance boost from MMX will be manifested across different processors and architectures.

Users of the Pentium Processor with MMX Technology (heretofore the P55C) will get, on average, a 20 to 50 percent performance increase, while MMX-enabled next-generation P6 family processors due in the first quarter of 1997 will add another 20 to 40 percent on top of this baseline increase, Grove said. Later, when P6 family processors use Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) bus technology, performance will jump another 50 percent, Grove added.

However, in order to realize the performance jumps Grove cited, applications must be written to MMX. The crush of MMX-aware software applications should hit the market in mid-1997, according to Frank Spindler, a marketing executive at Intel (INTC).

"You should see hundreds of titles in the second half (of next year)," Spindler said. Christmas '97 will be the first big marketing push for MMX software, added Bud Colligan, chairman and CEO of Macromedia.

Grove also demonstrated a new educational application that exemplifies his vision of the "hybrid" or balanced, connected PC. Here, the data-intensive content is stored on the local drive and updates are done via the Web.

The application, LearnLinc 1.6, uses video conferencing and T1 connections and allows a teacher to instruct students anywhere in the world as long as they have the software, a small camera on their display, and the LearnLinc software.