Taiwan firms adopt Cyrix chips

Using the "system-on-a-chip" MediaGX will enable production of sub-$1,000 machines for the price-conscious Asian market.

Taiwanese PC manufacturers Tatung and First International Computer are expected to adopt the Cyrix MediaGX microprocessor.

The highly integrated chip, sometimes called a "system on a chip" because it adds graphics, audio, and video capabilities to the microprocessor, will allow Tatung and First International to produce low-end PCs in the sub-$1,000 range, Nikkei's Japan Biztech online news service reported today. These machines should appeal to the price-consicous Asian market.

The MediaGX is the same processor used by Compaq in its sub-$1,000 Presario 2200 consumer models.

First International currently uses the MediaGX chips in its Oasis series, which are priced around $1,200. But both companies apparently believe chip prices will drop as a result of Cyrix's pending acquisition by National Semiconductor, according to the report. Even a small drop in chip prices can lead to significant PC price cuts.

For Tatung, the MediaGX represents a step up in processing speed. Its low-end Internet PC runs at 120 MHz, Biztech noted.

The fastest MediaGX chip runs at 180 MHz, and Cyrix plans to release 200-MHz and then 233-MHz chips next year.