Intel’s rumored development of a 32-bit “PC-on-a-chip” could significantly cut system costs, while making PC differentiation an unintended casualty.
Code-named Timna, the chip would combine the processing functionality of a future IA-32 Pentium III processor with the capabilities offered by chip sets like the Intel 810 or 820, sources say.
The chip’s support functionality is divided into two areas. “Northbridge” refers to graphics, audio and memory, and would be the equivalent of combining an audio/modem DSP, a video graphics controller, and memory controller onto the chip. “Southbridge” includes I/O interfaces and would include functions such as the PCI bus, USB bus and Ethernet networking controllers. The chip would eliminate many standard “legacy” features, such as the serial, parallel and keyboard ports, and the ISA bus.
Although OEMs still must add system memory and peripherals to to complete a Timna-based box, the selling price of a business PC could drop from the $1,400 to the $700 range, and consumer PCs would drop from sub-$700 to the sub-$300 range.
The story is posted at www.smartreseller.com.