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Cyrix one-ups Intel PC designs

Cyrix will push ever deeper into Intel territory in the second half of this year with a PC design that boasts new technologies that Intel is still only flirting with.

Cyrix will push ever deeper into Intel territory in the second half of this year with a PC design that boasts new technologies that Intel is still only flirting with.

The new design is part of Cyrix's strategy to market PCs under the Cyrix brand name, challenging Intel not only in the processor market but also in the design of motherboards and PC systems.

With the introduction of a 150-MHz 686 processor called the P200+ in the second half of the year, Cyrix will also increase the system bus speed on its 686 systems to 75 MHz. The system--or CPU--bus speed defines how fast the processor can communicate data to the rest of the computer, critical for boosting the overall performance of a PC.

The faster speed will result in a "clock-doubled" 75/150-MHz system, a first for an Intel-compatible PC design.

Here, the processor runs internally at 150 MHz but communicates with the system at 75 MHz.

Cyrix will also combine its faster bus design with new high-speed memory technology. The result will be a system that performs as fast as, or better than, Intel's coming 200-MHz Pentium systems, said Stephen Lapinski, general manager for Cyrix.

"I'm inclined to give it to them," said Mike Feibus, an analyst at Scottsdale, Arizona-based Mercury Research, alluding to Cyrix's claims that systems based on its new design will challenge 200-MHz Pentium systems.

Intel processor system bus speeds now peak at 66 MHz, though the company has been studying 75-MHz designs. The 166-MHz Pentium communicates with the system at 66 MHz.

But Feibus cautioned that the Cyrix design's ambitions may be more about getting attention than actually challenging Intel's de facto position as PC standard-bearer.

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