In one of the worst-kept secrets in the PC industry, Intel is releasing to system OEMs under a nondisclosure agreement the specifications behind its efforts to rid the world of legacy PC technology such as ISA bus, serial, and parallel ports.
Although Intel, Microsoft, and system vendors would like to see technology such as the ISA bus disappear to reduce manufacturing and support costs, there may be a push back from IT managers who still use older systems and face bigger problems than installing an ISA-based network interface card (NIC).
The Intel specification sent to system OEMs describes a legacy-free BIOS and system design. By removing legacy requirements, OEMs can decrease the memory footprint required and save 10 to 20 cents in manufacturing costs per system.
"OEMs jump at the chance to even save a penny," said one source familiar with the specification. Even 10 cents per unit is a considerable saving in manufacturing, the source noted.
Intel would not talk directly about the legacy-free BIOS specification, but the company has released pictures of what a legacy-free system might look like and is willing to admit that such a specification exists.
"Yes, we had to make certain changes to the BIOS, and we are communicating that to the OEMs. We created a reference platform and guidelines," an Intel representative said. "We are working with motherboard vendors and competitors."