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Cirrus Logic Unveils New Unified Memory Architecture GUI Accelerator; Delivers Standard Graphics Performance at Significant Cost Savings.

FREMONT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 8, 1996--Cirrus Logic Inc. (NASDAQ: CRUS), today announced the availability of a 64-bit GUI accelerator (CL-GD54UM36) for the unified memory architecture.

This device offers OEMs greater price/performance flexibility for designing entry-to-mid level systems for the commercial PC market. Designed from the ground up to maximize graphics and system performance, this new accelerator utilizes a portion of the main system memory for the display, thus eliminating the chip count and cost of a separate frame buffer. Eliminating the separate frame buffer also reduces overall system power consumption while increasing reliability.

"UMA allows OEMs the flexibility to design systems with the exact combination of price and performance that users demand," said Douglas J. Bartek, president of Cirrus Logic's Visual & Systems Interface Company. "This flexibility can expand the entry-to-mid range classes of product within the commercial market segment, meeting a greater spectrum of needs. In our case, we offer a chip that's based on the proven core of Cirrus Logic's CL-GD5436, a high-performance EDO DRAM-based accelerator. By using this proven core, we also leverage available software, further providing customers with cost and time-to-market advantages."

Along with providing cost savings of between $20 to $40 per computer in frame buffer costs, the new device delivers up to 96 percent of standard graphics (non-UMA) performance in systems using 16 megabytes of system memory and L2 cache. It overcomes performance penalties associated with the CPU and graphics subsystem sharing main memory by incorporating features that maximize system bandwidth utilization. These features address the two main causes of system performance degradation in UMA-based systems: reduced memory bandwidth for the CPU due to sharing main memory with the graphics subsystem, and reduced main memory size for the operating system due to a portion being used for display memory.

To deliver maximum performance, the chip features asynchronous memory clock operation at rates higher than the standard synchronous 66 MHz core logic host clock, and a larger CRT FIFO with intelligent management functions for effective memory bus arbitration. Optimized software drivers and a 64-bit wide interface (independent of display memory size) also contribute to improving memory bandwidth utilization and overall system performance.

Features that boost main memory availability to the operating system include a flexible memory size and the associated software to control it. Display memory sizes of 512KB, 1MB and 2MB are supported, for resolutions of up to 1024 x 768 with 64K color and 800 x 600 with 8M color. The new chip allows users to select a display memory size that will accommodate the desired combination of display properties and performance level.

"The memory industry's current transition to 16Mbit DRAMs is a major plus for UMA-based systems," said Mike Buchanan, director, PC Graphics for Cirrus Logic. "This trend, coupled with lower memory prices, is likely to drive a transition to a baseline of 16 megabytes of main system memory by the second half of this year. With 16 megabytes of memory and a UMA graphics device like the CL-GD54UM36, performance issues with the UMA environment will be negligible."

The CL-GD54UM36 is compliant with VESA's UMA (VUMA) and Intel Corporation's Shared Memory Buffer Architecture (SMBA) specifications. Since sampling of the part began, Cirrus Logic has been working with a number of core logic vendors, system BIOS suppliers, and PC motherboard OEMs.

Prem Talreja, Opti's director of strategic marketing, noted that, "Opti's recently announced ViperMAX PCI chipset will support Cirrus Logic's CL-GD54UM36 graphics accelerator for all desktop UMA designs. Together, we expect Opti and Cirrus Logic to deliver superior solutions that address a broad range of price and performance options."

Packaging, Pricing, and Availability

The CL-GD54UM36 is a low-power CMOS device packaged in a 208-pin plastic quad flat pack (PQFP). Sample quantities of the new device are available at $20 in quantities of 1,000. Volume production is planned for Q2 1996.

Headquartered in Fremont, Calif., Cirrus Logic Inc. is a leading manufacturer of advanced integrated circuits for the desktop and portable computing, telecommunications, and consumer electronics markets. The Company applies its system-level expertise in analog and digital design to innovate highly integrated, software-rich solutions. Cirrus Logic has developed a broad portfolio of products and technologies for applications spanning multimedia, graphics, communications, system logic, mass storage, and data acquisition. -0-

Note to Editors: Additional information about Cirrus Logic and its subsidiaries may be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.cirrus.com/ or via fax-on-demand at 800/359-6414 (dial 510/249-420 from outside the United States).

CONTACT: Cirrus Logic Inc., Fremont

Connie Duncan, 510/226-2346 (Editor contact)

Tom Ramsey, 510/226-2386 (Reader contact)

or

Tsantes & Associates

Nancy Sheffield, 408/452-8700
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 8, 1996
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