Intel reveals future plans

Intel on Friday revealed its plans for future growth and viability in the computer industry, with the announcement that it would build processors for everything from $500 Java terminals to multi-CPU servers. The announcement came during the company's biannual financial briefing. At the forefront of Intel's plans are a variety of products based on the Pentium II.

"We will have a single Pentium II brand, but with substantially different implementations, from low-end basic PCs to high-performance workstations and servers," said Craig Barrett, Intel's president and chief operating officer.

Intel expects the Pentium II to reach 450 MHz and support 1 GB of graphics bandwidth by the end of next year. The company said a 333 MHz version of the Pentium II will be made available early in 1998; 350 MHz, 400 MHz, and 450 MHz versions will follow. For sub-$1000 systems, Intel will create a stripped-down version of the Pentium II with no L2 cache. The next version of the Pentium II, code-named "Deschutes," will feature a new "Slot 2" architecture and 2 MB of L2 cache. Deschutes systems will scale to eight processors.

In the lower range, The company feels that diskless PCs can be sold for as little as $500. These machines could run Windows CE in an NT-based Hydra network, or the Java OS.

"The reference spec for lean clients will enable OEMs to build systems in the $500-to-$1,200 range," Barrett said.

Intel is busy moving important functions into motherboard chipsets. For example, DVD support, modem, audio, and graphics functions will eventually be a standard feature of Intel motherboards.

As for Windows 98, Intel CEO Andy Grove, like Bill Gates before him, downplayed the significance of the oft-delayed follow-up to Windows 95.

"We're not counting on an OS upgrade for sales," he said. "Windows 98 cleans up a lot of the things the industry has been working on. But NT 5.0 will be an extremely important product.

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