Hardware makers unveil latest products

Hardware makers unveil latest products

The latest advances in computing technology are on display here this week as hardware makers descend on the Computex Taipei 2002 exhibition, which began Monday and continues until Friday. The show kicked off with several hardware announcements from vendors, though wireless technologies are expected to be in the spotlight as well.

Few major announcements are expected to be made during this year's show. Instead, attention is focused on the emergence of products based on existing standards such as USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0, IEEE 1394 and 802.11a, as well as progress on the development of new computing devices, such as Microsoft's Mira and Tablet PC platforms. "There are a lot of PDA (personal digital assistant) applications and products, wireless and Bluetooth," said Frank Huang, chairman of the Taipei Computer Association. "After September 11, security is also becoming a key issue."

Chip makers Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel were among the companies making news on Monday. AMD used the show to unveil a prototype four-way server using its Opteron 64-bit processor while Intel demonstrated its new Banias mobile processor and a server running its Itanium 2 processor. Also on the chip side, Silicon Integrated Systems was showing off its recently announced Xabre 400 graphics processor, which supports AGP8X graphics, as well as offering a look at a sample of its 755 chipset, which will support AMD's eighth-generation Athlon XP processor, formerly known by its code name, ClawHammer.

Many other vendors were also showing products that support AMD's upcoming line of 64-bit processors. ALi, for example, was showing off its ClawHammer chipset, the M1687, which will support AGP8X graphics as well as Secure Digital and Sony's Memory Stick nonvolatile memory cards.

Among the other products on display during the show was a new PDA from Taipei-based Micro-Star International, which is hoping to use the exhibition to showcase its efforts to expand beyond its traditional strength as motherboard maker.

Acer is showing the latest additions to its Aspire PC line, which offer the ability to receive and record TV shows, as well as two new Pocket PC-based PDAs, including one model with integrated wireless LAN support. For its part, Taiwanese hardware maker Gigabyte Technology, was showing a host of new motherboards based on Intel's latest additions to its 845 chipset series, which support a 533MHz front-side bus and offer up to six USB 2.0 ports.

Computex, which is held annually in Taipei, is expected to attract just over 1,100 exhibitors this year, slightly more than attended last year and an all-time record, according to event organizers Taipei Computer Association and China External Trade Development Council (CETRA).

The numbers of buyers attending the event is also exceeding expectations, with 25,000 visitors expected from overseas, said Yuen Chuan Chao, vice president of CETRA.

With participation rising, around 100 companies were left on the waiting list for booths this year, said Chao. As a result, the organizers have asked the city to help accommodate more exhibitors.

To meet that request, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying Jeou announced at a press conference Monday that the city is planning to build an additional exhibition hall, in between two of the show's current main halls, to alleviate the shortage of space.

A parking lot alongside Hall 1 is the location for the new hall, which will be ready for next year's show, said Mayor Ma.

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