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Floppy disk on last legs as Concept PCs arrive

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Intel Developer Forum A track at last week's Intel Developer Forum is sounding the death knell for the good old floppy disk. Developers were told to prepare for the day when PCs no longer used the cheap device. At the same time, consumers could face pay through the nose when expensive items such as printers they bought for older systems will no longer plug into their PCs. The floppy will be displaced by higher capacity USB magnetic media or writeable optical CD media, developers were warned. The shape of PCs to comeBut whether such devices will have backward compatibility is unclear. Hundreds of thousands of end users have data and programs stored on 3.5-inch floppies, posing the risk that in the future, PCs will not be able to read the backup data and it will be impossible to install applications. Nevertheless, there could be the potential for an after-market for clever developers who capitalise on old media. When the 5.25-inch floppy disk disappeared in PCs, consumers faced the same problem. Other so-called legacy devices to disappear will include Super IO, non plug and play elements, and serial and parallel ports. As we reported last week, the VGA standard will disappear, to be replaced by the digital video interface, a more costly alternative for monitors. IT all adds up to a bonanza for peripheral manufacturers but a potential nightmare for consumers, faced with printers, scanners and monitors which won't plug into their new, easy-to-use PCs and masses of data and programs on floppy disks which can't be accessed. Developers were also warned that the new designs, using the FlexATX motherboard, were subject to similar heat problems as notebook machines. And if the Concept PCs take off when they are launched in the near future, rival chip manufacturer AMD may have problems. The FlexATX boards will include socket 370 Pentium IIIs and Celerons, while the AMD Athlon K7 has a Slot A design which would have to be re-engineered into a socket to fit into such shapes.® RegisTroid 370 During his keynote speech at IDF, Intel's CEO Craig Barrett bestrode one of the designs pictured above -- the one which looks like a pouffe and is called the Ottoman -- and said it felt like he was riding his horse. Intel PR in the US has promised us a picture of Barrett on his real horse, which we and our readers eagerly await.

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