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SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 27, 1995--To help enable the computer industry's integration of multimedia functions onto the PC motherboard, OPTi today announced the third member of its Viper family, Viper-M -- a multimedia-enhanced core logic chipset for Pentium(TM)-class PCI-based desktop computers.

Because Viper-M is part of OPTi's pin-to-pin compatible Viper family, it offers manufacturers a smooth migration path to true multimedia functionality.

According to the research firm Dataquest, the rate of growth of PCs in the home was three times that of PC sales to businesses in 1994. With this rapid acceleration in the consumer PC market, designers are faced with the challenge of making their products easier to use while offering more multimedia features. The migration of multimedia on the motherboard (MOM) is the logical solution.

Through the addition of new multimedia performance enhancements, Viper-M is able to free up about 40 percent of the system bandwidth for multimedia applications, thus making MOM a reality.

With MOM, PC manufacturers are able to offer better "ease-of-use," because users do not have to deal with the expense, hassle and frustration of purchasing, installing and configuring add-on cards. With more functions integrated on the motherboard, MOM also affords manufacturers the opportunity to offer more functionality at a lower total system cost.

Because of the demand for improved media and communication bandwidth and ease of use for multimedia PCs, the MOM market will experience rapid growth in 1995 and years to come.

"The popularity of PCs in the home has fueled the demand for better multimedia system performance at a low cost," said Dean McCarron, an analyst with the market research firm Mercury Research. "Because the demand for multimedia is so high, OEMs are moving it to the motherboard in an effort to reduce cost."

The Multimedia Performance Dilemma

Current multimedia systems are plagued by system bottlenecks, due to a lack of fast subsystem communications between CPU, memory and the PCI Bus. They also lack an intelligent partitioning of tasks between CPU and peripheral coprocessors (i.e., audio controller/codec, MPEG decoder, fax/modem, graphics/GUI engine).

An example of a typical bottleneck for current multimedia systems is audio and video playback from CD-ROMs. System performance may be degraded when running synchronized audio with full motion video, while a communication task, like receiving a fax, is happening in the background. Furthermore, multitasking operating systems such as Windows 95 and OS/2 Warp force the user to contend with shared system resources and limited CPU and memory bandwidth.

OPTi solves these problems with Viper-M. To improve CPU/memory bandwidth on audio transfers, Viper-M has an integrated Type F DMA interface. In benchmark studies conducted by the company, a system's CPU/memory bandwidth requirements decreased from 20 percent to 2 percent when equipped with Viper-M's Type F DMA versus standard DMA.

To further improve CPU/memory bandwidth, Viper-M features an integrated Bus Master IDE Controller allowing IDE devices such as a hard disk drive or CD-ROM to transfer data with little help from the CPU. Bus Master IDE reduces CPU utilization from 20 percent to less than one percent on IDE accesses to the CD-ROM and disk drive. Viper-M also supports higher performance ANSI Mode 4 and 5 drives. Finally, Viper-M looks to improve PCI performance by supporting asynchronous PCI. This allows the PCI bus to run at a full 33MHz in a 50 MHz system, as opposed to some competitors' 25 MHz.

These combined features free up more than 40 percent of system bandwidth, or 40 MIPS of processing power, enabling the CPU to perform other power hungry tasks and reducing total system cost. In this manner, Viper-M enables NSP to provide additional value added to the MOM platform. The result is improved system performance for today's applications with significant bandwidth left over for the future.

Multiple Processor Vendor Support

Viper-M is the only multimedia chipset to support all members of Intel's Pentium processor family as well as AMD's K5 and Cyrix's M1 processors. This gives the system manufacturer the flexibility of having multiple microprocessor suppliers.

"With volume shipments of K5 and M1 expected in the second half of 1995, PC manufacturers will want to qualify additional resources for their Pentium-class systems," said Steve Tobak, OPTi's director of corporate marketing. "OPTi's Viper-M chipset is the only multimedia capable solution to undergo rigorous compatibility testing with Pentium, K5 and M1 processors. This enables PC makers to amortize their development efforts and resources over a complete product line, while maintaining the assurance of a true software compatible platform."

An Integrated Three-Chip Solution

OPTi's Viper-M chipset is a complete core logic solution for Pentium-class PCI desktop computers in three chips. They include the System Controller in a 208-pin PQFP (82C557M), the Data Buffer Controller in a 160-pin PQFP (82C556M) and the Peripheral Controller in a 208-pin PQFP (82C558M). Viper-M's pin-to-pin compatibility with past members of the Viper desktop family allows the designer to maximize the life of his design, by taking advantage of new features, without making significant changes. This minimizes development costs and improves time-to-market.

In benchmark tests run on a 90MHz Pentium system, a Viper-M chipset with optional L2 cache was compared to the next fastest competing chipset. Viper-M met or exceeded the results in all categories. To highlight some individual test results, Viper-M scored a DOSMark of 1,030.95 (PC Bench V9.0), a Graphics WinMark 4.0 score of 34.6 and a Winstone 95 score of 136.1.

Memory Performance Advantage

Viper-M supports existing and emerging DRAM technologies, such as Page Mode and EDO DRAM. OPTi's history of superior DRAM performance continues with Viper-M's highly optimized memory controller. PC makers using Viper-M and EDO DRAM can eliminate all L2 cache in their low-end Pentium PCs and still produce a machine that outperforms more costly PCs incorporating secondary cache.

"Being able to support cache-based and cacheless architectures provides the manufacturer with the option of not being tied to the cache market's volatile supply and price fluctuations," explained Prem Talreja, OPTi's director of marketing, desktop logic products. "A cacheless design will enable manufacturers to produce multimedia-capable entry-level Pentium-class PCs in the $1500 to $2000 range. This is one of the many reasons why Viper-M will help secure OPTi's position as the leading independent supplier of Pentium-class chipsets."

Viper-M also provides system flexibility by supporting multiple L2 cache schemes such as asynchronous, synchronous, pipelined burst and third-party integrated cache controllers. In addition, Viper-M supports L2 cache with a high-performance proprietary adaptive write-back cache controller, again providing a proven performance benefit over chipsets offering only writeback or write-through capability.

Pricing and Availability

OPTi's Viper-M chipset is priced at $30.00 in OEM quantities (10,000). Sample volumes are available now, with production volumes due in June 1995.

OPTi Inc. (NASDAQ:OPTI) is a leading supplier of core logic and peripheral chipsets including 64-bit PCI chipsets. Founded in 1989, the company serves manufacturers of mobile and desktop personal computer products worldwide, and is a leading supplier to top-tier manufacturers such as IBM and Packard-Bell. OPTi had record revenues and profits of $134 million and $15 million, respectively in 1994. For more information on OPTi's products, contact 408/980-8178, ex. 850. -0-

Note to Editors: All trademarks are those of their respective companies.


Steve Tobak, 408/486-8243


The Hoffman Agency

Mark Plungy/Laura Irwin, 408/286-2611
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Date:Mar 27, 1995
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