PC Briefs: Atheros, HP

Single-chip Atheros 802.11g product

Atheros Communications will release a single-chip 802.11g product in the second quarter that lowers the cost of placing the technology in notebooks or PDAs, according to the company. The AR5005G combines a baseband processor, a media access controller (MAC), and a radio on a single chip. This integration represents an industry first. The 802.11g standard is gaining momentum as a faster alternative to the more widely used 802.11b standard. Competition is tight among Wi-Fi silicon vendors for design wins, and cost is often an important factor when notebook or PDA designers need to pick a wireless chip.

HP ponders 64-bit x86 servers

HP is considering a different route to 64-bit technology than it has previously discussed, opening the door for servers based on processors that use extensions to the x86 instruction set. “HP acknowledges customer demand for x86 extensions technology in certain vertical segments, where specific price-performance needs exist,” the company said. It was assessing its options in this area and was not disclosing information about systems, partners, or availability. HP doesn’t have many options for x86 extensions technology. Only AMD has released a processor that makes use of extensions technology with its Opteron chip, although rumours persist that Intel is developing a processor that either mimics AMD’s approach or uses a new method to add 64-bit capability to the x86 processors that run the majority of the world’s computers. AMD declined to comment on the possibility of HP releasing Opteron servers. IBM and Sun Microsystems have already agreed to ship servers based on AMD’s chip.