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COMPUTING

From...
PC World

Celeron-466 boosts graphics on a budget

April 27, 1999
Web posted at: 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 GMT)

by Christian McIntosh

(IDG) -- Intel Monday released a 466-MHz Celeron chip, another bump in speed for its Celeron line of budget processors. The giant chipmaker also will integrate a low-cost graphic chip set, the Intel 810, into the Celeron family.

In a separate announcement, Hewlett-Packard unveiled plans to use the new Celeron in its Vectra corporate PCs and Brio business PCs. The small-chassis Vectra line starts at $1149, and the Brio systems start at $929.

HP will ship the new Vectra and Brio systems in June, says Ken Bosley, Vectra product manager for North America.

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With its Brio micro tower, HP targets cost-conscious small-business customers, Bosley says. The Brio is less expensive and offers a simpler configuration model than the Vectra.

Systems in both lines are equipped with an 8.4GB hard drive, and the Brio features a 32X CD-ROM drive, 18-bit full-duplex PCI sound, and 64MB of SDRAM.

The Vectra, positioned as a mainstream business PC, buffers consumers from constantly changing clock speeds. "Vectras employ identical BIOSs that are compatible across all of Intel's chip platforms," Bosley says.

But Bosley believes Intel's newest Celeron offers the best price-to-performance ratio in the low-cost arena. "Now that the 466 MHz is available, the 366 MHz will begin to phase out and the budget market will start to focus on speeds of 400 MHz and above," Bosley says. "It's like waves breaking on a beach."

Compaq is also shipping Celeron 466-MHz systems, according to Intel officials.

New chip-set targets graphics

The 810 chip set, code-named Whitney, will be compatible with Intel's entire Celeron line, going back to the 300-MHz processor.

"With the 810 chip set, we've integrated Intel 3D graphics technology to reduce system cost while maintaining performance," says Ron Peck, desktop marketing manager with Intel's Desktop Products Group.

Specifically, the 810 chip set integrates the AGP graphics controller and the memory controller. Intel's shared memory architecture also integrates the frame buffer into the system memory. By simplifying the chip set architecture, Intel can boost graphics performance for low-end PCs, Peck says.

Building on the 810, Intel integrated hardware motion-compensation technology that improves video quality. "This allows our customers to do DVD without an add-in card," Peck says. The 810 includes an integrated digital controller for audio as well.

Random number generator

The 810 chip set also marks the debut of Intel's random number generator, a security feature that software applications can use for privacy purposes.

"The random number generator is based on noise from the system," Peck says. Intel plans to package its random number generator with future chip set releases. Software applications won't be able to take advantage of the feature until later this year, Peck adds.


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