Chip buses accelerate for 3D graphics

Chip buses accelerate for 3D graphics

Stealing a beat on Intel at Comdex in November, three chip-set vendors will demonstrate Socket 7 and Slot 1 core logic that runs a PC system's bus as fast as 133MHz. Intel is not expected to reach that speed until next year.

It has been announced that chip sets from Acer Laboratories, Silicon Integrated Systems, and Via Technologies, all in Taiwan, will start to ship this quarter. The chip sets will support front-side bus speeds from 66MHz to 133MHz.

"Some of these chips will have integrated 3D graphics controllers and will target low-cost systems," Michael Ham, product marketing engineer at NEC Electronics, explained.

Meanwhile, Intel will move from synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) to Direct Rambus DRAM in 1999, and other core-logic vendors will extend SDRAM support to NEC's Virtual Channel SDRAM (VC SDRAM).

According to Shawn Farshehi, vice president for infrastructure technology and services at DHL Worldwide Express, the performance improvements delivered by a faster system bus are welcome, but IT managers are likely to wait before buying systems using the technology.

"We look at the whole package," Farshehi said. "Performance improvements in hard-drive access are just as important."

However, Ham claims that the performance enhancements will occur as a result of a larger bandwidth between the CPU and memory.

NEC expects to begin volume production of VC Memory this month.

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