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Non-PC chips get desktop power

Sun and Advanced RISC Machines develop processors for consumer and networking devices that will rival their desktop counterparts in power.

    Sun Microsystems and Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) announced new processors for use in "embedded" devices that will rival their desktop counterparts in power.

    Sun introduced 300- and 333-MHz versions of its UltraSparc-IIi processor, destined for use in embedded applications such as network routers and high-end photocopiers and multifunction printers.

    Sun's chips are derived from the 64-bit processors used in Sun's workstation and server computers. Most processors used in desktop computers today are 32-bit processors, some of which run as fast as 350 MHz.

    ARM will aim at a different target with its new 920T and 910T processors--the market for handheld devices, sub-notebooks, and network computers.

    Available in up to 200-MHz versions, the 920T will be suited for handheld PCs and network computers based on the Windows CE operating system, ARM said.

    Because of the chip's design, companies will be able to integrate formerly separate hardware functions such as a modem onto the chip, thus saving money. The 910T will be used in cell phones and other handheld devices that need to download software off of a network, ARM said.

    Embedded processors are essentially any microprocessors that don't get inserted into standard computers, such as PCs and mainframes. Counted as the chips that come in everything from printers to phones, they dwarf the total annual output of processors for desktops, servers, and workstations.

    Sun said the UltraSparc-IIi will be sold in volume for $720 per chip; a version with 2MB of secondary cache memory will sell for $1,250.