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Future server I/O co-operation talks collapse

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Intel and IBM have both walked away from talks aimed at brokering a compatibility agreement between the two companies' proposed server interconnect technologies. According to a report in EE Times, the discussions hit "insurmountable sticking points". Specifically, the Intel-backed Next Generation I/O (NGIO) Forum were not keen on the IBM-led Future I/O group's proposal that both groups scrap their specifications and co-operate on a new, combined approach. "Their schedule is a year behind ours," said NGIO negotiator and Intel's server group general manager, Tom Macdonald. "And the reality is it could take two years or more to work out a fresh approach. I don't think the market should have to wait." For their part, Future I/O representatives grumbled that the NGIO approach would quickly leave today's PCI bus behind. That would limit work done by IBM, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard on the next generation of PCI, PCI-X, which will provide bus speeds of up to 132MHz. The collapse of the talks leaves both I/O offerings battling out for marketplace dominance in a retread of the old EISA vs. MCA fight. Future I/O's specification is due to be published towards the end of the year -- servers using the technology would follow in 2001. The 2.5Gbps NGIO spec. is already available in draft form and is set to be utilised in shipping product late 2000. ®

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