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Hardware giants bypass Intel for new, improved PCI spec

Compaq, HP and IBM are unlikely chums

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Frustrated at being subservient to Intel's control of processor technology,Compaq, HP and IBM are quietly developing an improved PCI specification(unimaginatively code-named Project 1). At issue is the speed of data transfer between the processor and peripherals. The tablets that Intel brought down from the mountain in 1993 said 66 MHz bus speed, with a transfer rate of a mere 132 MB/second. The new PCIX spec calls for twice the bus speed and transfer rates of 1 GB/second. It is expected that there will be backward compatibility. An announcement is not expected before November, with availability in early 1999 -- in time to exploit the Merced delay. To a large extent, Intel has been left out in the cold by the trio, although it is expected to agree to the PCIX spec. If Intel does not include PCIX in IA-32 chip sets, both IBM and Mylex are expected to offer the chip sets in any event. The market sector of prime importance for the partners is for NT servers. Part of the motivation for the move is said to be a desire by the trio to differentiate their products from commodity vendors that take their motherboards from Intel. It is unlikely that prices will be higher than those of Intel-but the performance should be sufficiently superior togive the desired advantage.®

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