Microsoft and Intel have announced a draft design guide for the Windows/Intel platform at the WinHec 97 conference. Dubbed PC 98, the guide outlines features and design changes for the PC platform for the next two years, many of them graphics and digital media-related.
The purpose of the guide is to give PC and peripheral manufacturers the ability to ensure that their products interoperate with Microsoft software and Intel hardware. The companies are soliciting comment on the draft guidelines from other manufacturers.
The guide will help manufacturers support new features in Windows 95 and Windows NT. These features include support for video and audio editing, and support for new peripherals such as DVD, scanners and digital cameras. Manufacturers will also be encouraged to integrate power management features, including the OnNow technology, offer Plug and Play capabilities, and support lower cost of ownership initiatives.
One of the more controversial aspects to the guide is the recommendation of the migration from ISA input/out bus technology to the IEEE's 1394 bus technology.
The PC 98 offers manufacturers guides governing:
-- Graphics adapters 2-D and 3-D acceleration. Support for accelerated graphics port (AGP), a video port and the DirectDraw are also recommended;
-- Video. MPEG-2 playback, data transfer and playback support;
-- Audio. The guide differentiates performance expectations for professional and amateur audio standards;
-- Storage. The guide provides recommendations for the support of DVD and emphasizes the transition form the ISA to the IEEE 1394 input/output bus technology;
-- Modems. PC 98 recommends the migration from ISA bus modem support to Universal Serial Bus (USB) for modem controllers;
-- Networking communications. the design guide requires all network devices to support NDIS 5.0 drivers and Windows 95 style INF files. The guide also discusses new push technologies.