16th > January > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

A year ago: IBM, Gateway, AMD, Acer enter rumour mill

AMD promised us that VIA would support its PC 100 fast Socket Seven bus and sure enough that will come to pass this week. But a mole close to Intel told The Register last week that talking about PC 100 and DRAM (as we have), he might as well tell us the truth about why the chip giant posted revised specs. According to him, Intel was under the threat of litigation by three major manufacturers unless it changed its mind on the specifications. A compromise was reached and that was why Intel backed down. Intel refuses to comment on unannounced litigation, of any kind, whatsoever. The problems with DRAM (see earlier issues) caused many a distributor to turn the wallpaper in her or his office blue, we are given to understand. And talking about AMD - we note that its results are a little "lossy" but our contacts at Dataquest assure us that IBM and Compaq would not use AMD chips unless they were absolutely sure that they could supply. And how could they be sure? Well, it could be something to do with the fact that rumours are rife that IBM wants to buy AMD. Something to do with the 6X86 deal with NatSemi-Cyrix, we hear. We also understand that Gateway 2000 is also, once again, touting for business with IBM interested while Acer will secure the deal to make the PCs for Unisys after two of its manufacturing plants close. As always, everyone refuses to comment on unsubstantiated rumours. Good morning, America. ®
Mike Magee, 16 Jan 1999
The Register breaking news

Samsung-Linux plans emerge as Alpha takes shape

More details have emerged of plans that the Alpha partnership has to grab Intel market share. At the same time, it appears that AMD will introduce its SharpTooth product on the 24th February as a spoiler for the Katmai platform, released later in the month. As revealed here some weeks ago, Compaq and its partners Microsoft and Samsung are making an all out bid to push the Alpha as a volume platform in 1999. This is part of a cunning plan Compaq's Eckhard Pfeiffer has to leverage his company's relationship with Intel. Again, as revealed here first, Compaq will rename D/UX to Tru64 Unix at the end of this month, while IBM will seek to spoil that launch with some new RS and AS/400 boxes. Now slides outlining the Alpha partners' plans have been sent to The Register which give solid details of the future this year. The first shows that during this year, the partnership will aim at the sub-$1,000 market, leveraging the Windows NT platform and using the PCA57/RX architecture. The second slide shows this years' roadmap for the 21264, with AMD's uniprocessor design present as part of the plans. And the third slide gives clear bill of material pricing for the different flavours of the Alpha PC57 and 21264 uni- and dual- processor platforms, as well as showing how the partners will leverage the Linux connection. Compaq has promised The Register we will be invited to its spate of product announcements towards the end of the month. Its own offerings have already been previewed by Shannon knows Compaq Shannon knows Compaq and benchmarks are available at that site. ® Related Stories Compaq AMD Alpha plans take Linux shape Compaq unable to deck Alpha Cunning AMD-Compaq plan takes shape
Mike Magee, 16 Jan 1999
The Register breaking news

Trident turns in big Q2 loss

Trident Microsystems reported a drop in sales of 30 per cent for its second quarter but claimed it was on the road to reducing the shortfall. But the better it does, the more likely it is it will fall to market consolidation. The company said that it sold $20,652,000 worth of its product in Q2 1999, compared to $26,939,000 in the same quarter a year ago. That amounts to a loss in Q2 of $2,709,000. Trident is pinning its hopes on the Blade 3D chip it introduced last Comdex/Fall, said Frank Lin, the company’s CEO. It also has alliances with Samsung and wants to capitalise on the importance of the sub-$1,000 market. Other partners include AMD and Microsoft. The company was turning its fortunes round because it was the third consecutive quarter losses had declined, he added. Trident claims a big agreement with a tier one PC manufacturer to use its Cyber 9525D 3D embedded technology in notebooks and said it will soon announce a follup with 4Mb of SDRAM. ®
A staffer, 16 Jan 1999
The Register breaking news

DDR camp refuses to give up ghost

Memory manufacturers still reluctant to shell out royalties for Direct Rambus technology have announced that 29 assorted components firms have joined what the Double Data Rate SDRAM consortium thinks is the good fight. Towards the end of last year, as reported here, 12 of the biggest DRAM manufacturers, led by Big Blue, said DDR was the way to go. Now the DDR consortium has recruited a string of module manufacturers to support its cause, including Celestica, Dataram, Viking and others. Via and Opti will also make chipsets while Alpha Processor will also employ DDR technology. VLSI will make chipsets for consumer products. According to the statement, Cisco, Hitachi Server, IBM, Real 3D, SGI and Sun will support DDR SDRAM while the usual DRAM mob have all committed to it. For the time being, at least, DDR at the server end is expected to do quite well. The plucky DDR lot just won’t give up, will they? ®
A staffer, 16 Jan 1999