Multimedia is buzzword for new chip technologies

Intel is scheduled to unveil specifications for a new Pentium chip with multimedia instruction extensions (MMX) at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose today.

Intel is scheduled to unveil specifications for a new Pentium chip with multimedia instruction extensions (MMX) at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose today.

Intel’s P55C chip, which is being built especially for use with high-speed video and audio applications, is the first to include such extensions and the first to focus on meeting the needs of multimedia applications, says Kim Gibbons, an Intel spokeswoman.

Other microprocessor manufacturers and computer makers, including Samsung, MicroUnity, Advanced Micro Devices, Cyrix, Digital and Silicon Graphic will also debut new products and technologies which focus on adding multimedia capabilities to computer chips.

Some manufacturers which make chips competing with the Pentium will release specifications for new multimedia processors. Cyrix will launch the M2, a 6x86 chip with MMX, and AMD will debut its K6 multimedia chip. MicroUnity, Samsung and Chromatic will all release new multimedia processors.

Digital is expected to launch a design for the 21264 processor, said to be the fastest processor in the world to date, according to the Microprocessor Report, which is sponsoring the event.

Coinciding with the forum, SGI has introduced a new million instructions per second (MIPS) architecture which will give its MIPS reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processors advanced capabilities for processing audio, video and 3D graphics on a single chip. SGI's new Digital Media Extensions (MDMX) and MIPS V instruction set will be backwardly compatible with installed MIPS chips which are currently in use in computer systems, digital video disks (DVD), network computers, personal digital assistants (PDA) and set-top boxes, according to a company statement. The company has also introduced a new 16-bit instruction set called MIPS16 which offers a 40% reduction in memory space requirements over the MIPS32 instruction set.

LSI Logic, which co-developed the MIPS16, introduced a new microprocessor based on the technology called the TinyRISC. The small chip will be used in cellular phones and PDAs. Two smaller microprocessor companies are expected to debut new technologies at the forum.

San Jose, California-based Exponential Technology has announced a high-speed microprocessor called the X704, designed for PowerPC-compatible machines. Clocked at 533MHz, the X704 will be aimed at enabling high-end multimedia and graphics applications, according to a company press release. The processor, which is the fastest PC processor to date, will be widely available in the second quarter of 1997.

Santa Clara, California-based Quantum Effect Design will announce the details of its RISCMark series of microprocessors which includes the RM7000, a MIPS-based processor aimed at the embedded market, especially internetworking and printing. However, the RM7000 isn’t expected to be widely available until early 1998.

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