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  • Leading Processor Makers Open Tech Centers In Taiwan
  • August 3, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- Cyrix Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) each opened a technology center in Taiwan in late July to provide reference designs and system support for clients.
    The moves suggest the increasing importance of Taiwan manufacturers to processor makers.

    On July 28, National Semiconductor Corp. announced the establishment of its Asia-Pacific Technology Center (APTC) in Taipei to support the Cyrix Media GX and Cyrix M II processors. Cyrix is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Semiconductor. The new center serves as a cost-effective expansion of clients' R&D; facilities during the development stage of Cyrix processor-based products.

    On July 29, AMD announced the opening of a new Far East Infrastructure Organization (FEIO) to advance PC infrastructure industry through shared technical knowledge. It consists of a team of engineering specialists stationed in Taiwan to provide timely technical support to developers, design engineers and manufacturers working on AMD processor-based products.

    "Establishment of these technical support centers in Taiwan shows that processor makers recognize the crucial role Taiwan plays for any PC architecture standard to gain more influence," said Richard Liu, an industry analyst at the China Securities Investment Corp. of Taipei.

    Taiwan is responsible for more than 60 percent of motherboards and 30 percent of notebook PCs sold worldwide. As the three leading processor makers (Intel, AMD and Cyrix) are engaged in a heated war for global market share, they have to offer incentives to potential clients. Easy access to technical support is a critical factor when clients ponder which processor to put in products, Liu explained.

    In the past, manufacturers had to go to the United States for technical support when designing a product based on the Cyrix MediaGX. Now they get full-fledged service at APTC in Taiwan.

    "Taiwan is the center of the PC industry, and the main purpose for setting up APTC in Taiwan is to be closer to our customers," said Bruce Date, APTC director at National Semiconductor. The center is divided into a Design Center Lab and a Compatibility Lab. The latter is an extension of an existing lab of the same name at Cyrix's headquarters in the United States. This lab draws on a complete set of industry-standard testing tools to test processor and mainboard compatibility for clients.

    AMD plans to staff FEIO with 20 employees by the end of 1998. The organization is divided into four areas of specialization: chip sets, motherboards, independent hardware vendors and validation.

    FEIO has an immediate mission to promote motherboards and chip sets adopting the new Slot A architecture with AMD-K7 microprocessor scheduled for release in 1999.

    Intel, another processor leader, has had a similar operation in Taiwan for three years now. Founded in 1995 and supported by about 20 engineers, Intel's Desktop Laboratory and Mobile Laboratory offer services in three stages: organizing seminars to introduce new technology and new standards, providing validation tests during product development and coordinating a "Plug Fest" for motherboard or system makers to check compatibility with power supplies and peripheral devices from other vendors.

    (Charlene Huang, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Fri Jul 31 18:32:01 1998