Multimedia PCs for an Australian street price as low as $1500 are the promise behind the new Cyrix Media GX chips. Soon after the announcement of the chip in the US, Compaq said it would use the processor in its new Presario 2100 - now being evaluated for a local model release.
Using its own Visual System Architecture (VSA), Cyrix has eliminated the need for a separate graphics card and sound card by adding their functions to the microprocessor.
Bruce McCabe, IDC Australia's program manager for PCs, said he had been tracking shipments into Australia of Cyrix and other non-Intel processors. "There has been a real surge in Cyrix and AMD shipments," he said. "With the new Media GX chip I see an enormous opportunity for the home market with low price multimedia machines."
While in the US Compaq is backing the Cyrix chip and Microsoft has added its endorsement, local companies are hesitant. A spokesperson for Compaq said the company was looking at"localisation issues" with the Presario 2100, saying: "We'll make an announcement when we're ready."
Acer is already using Cyrix chips in some of its models sold on the US market. But Nick Lazaridis, Acer's senior product manager in Australia, said it was unlikely the company would be selling machines powered by the new Media GX chip locally. "We see ourselves as continuing to be very closely aligned with Intel," said Lazaridis.
Rex Callaghan, new product development manager for Dick Smith Electronics, said there was no significant difference in buying patterns for one brand of chip over any other where the machine itself carried a brand name.
"People recognise the brand name of the machine itself rather than the chip it uses," said Callaghan. "Going to Cyrix chips would not be detrimental. People are looking for overall quality in what they buy."