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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • I-O Data Device, TI Unit Develop Enhanced Memory Module
  • February 3, 1999 (TOKYO) — I-O Data Device Inc. and Texas Instruments Tsukuba Research and Development Center Ltd. jointly developed a processor enhanced memory module (PEMM) incorporating a digital signal processor (DSP) that can greatly enhance a PC’s functions.
    I-O Data Device is a major Japanese producer of PC peripheral devices, and Texas Instruments Tsukuba R&D; Center is an R&D; unit of Texas Instruments Japan Ltd.

    Among the functions that it can bolster is image processing. A microprocessor on a PC motherboard and a DSP on the PEMM module process data in parallel. Because of the load sharing, the load on the microprocessor is reduced.

    The new memory module can be inserted into slots for a 168-pin dual in-line memory module (DIMM) or a 144-pin small out-line dual in-line memory module (SO-DIMM).

    Specifically, the module enhances the performance of multimedia-related applications such as image processing and voice processing, according to officials at both companies.

    For example, it can increase the performance of the photo retouching software PhotShop by a factor of five.

    Also, the PEMM and a 166MHz Pentium microprocessor can offer software decoding for DVD-Video content, for which performance equivalent to a Pentium II microprocessor previously was needed. The PEMM, however, requires dedicated device driver software.

    Although existing chipsets are available for the PEMM, a dedicated unit is needed to fully exploit its maximum performance, the company officials said.

    The Electronic Industries Association of Japan (EIAJ) has firmed up the standards for PEMM products. Also, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) has made progress toward setting of standards. The standards are expected to be set within this year.

    I-O Data Device will start shipping the 168-pin PEMM products in the third quarter of 1999. Initial prices will be about three times those of the DIMM products with similar capacities.

    Dedicated device drivers for the products will be offered by Texas Instruments for free.

    As for its dedicated chipset, there is no concrete production plan yet. A Taiwan-based maker, however, has expressed interest in producing the device, officials at the two companies said.

    (Nikkei Microdevices)

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