Intel, Microsoft Invite Industry Comment on PC 98 Design Guide, Designed to Boost User Satisfaction With Ease of Use of Windows-Based PCs

SAN FRANCISCO, April 8, 1997 — Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. today unveiled – and solicited industry comment on – a reviewers draft of the PC 98 Design Guide. The design guide is intended to boost end-user satisfaction with the quality, functionality and ease of use of personal computers running the Microsoft® Windows® and Windows NT® operating systems, including desktops, laptops, workstations, new entertainment PCs and other consumer electronics devices. Highlights of the guide were presented on the opening day of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC 97) at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

The current draft, version 0.6, called a Reviewers Draft of the PC 98 Design Guide, is available for review now at the Intel and Microsoft Web sites. This draft includes key contributions from industry leader Compaq Computer Corp. Ongoing input from the industry is also included. The final version of the guide is scheduled to be available this summer at the Intel and Microsoft Web sites, with the printed version available by the end of the year.

“Major strides are being made to simplify and enrich the PC experience by making the Windows platform more exciting and easier to use and manage,” said Carl Stork, general manager for the Windows platform at Microsoft. “The PC 98 Design Guide pushes the latest hardware advances forward by offering the industry a design guideline for building the most innovative PCs for business, mobile computing, home and entertainment in 1998.”

“Significant platform advances in such areas as visual computing and management increasingly require deeper cooperation of PC hardware and software elements,” said Jim Pappas, director of platform initiatives at Intel. “By co-authoring this year’s guide with Microsoft, we are anticipating many of the requirements needed to keep the industry moving forward. The guide is a major step toward delivering a common, verifiable set of platform specifications that achieve technical and business goals and promote innovation.”

The design guide describes features that hardware manufacturers should consider including in their 1998 and 1999 PCs for end users to have the best experience and satisfaction when running Windows and Windows NT. PC 98 Design Guide goals include the following:

  • Advance the quality of PC hardware, firmware and device drivers by encouraging PC hardware platform initiatives and technical capabilities to maximize customer benefit, satisfaction and simplicity of use for increased user satisfaction and fewer service calls.

  • Ensure the availability of lower-cost systems

  • Encourage innovation, so manufacturers and designers can pursue new solutions and advances in hardware. The PC 98 Design Guide enables new users and new PC use by encouraging new platform types and models.

“Compaq’s role as a key contributor to the PC 98 Design Guide is part of our long-standing commitment to develop innovative solutions with the industry,” said Bob Jackson, vice president, desktop PC division at Compaq Computer. “The PC 98 Design Guide will boost innovation and enhance customer satisfaction by providing the industry with guidelines to develop high-quality, highly compatible PCs that run any Windows operating system.”

The new PC 98 Design Guide offers recommendations to meet the following design goals:

  • Systems to take advantage of the new capabilities available in the next versions of Windows and Windows NT

  • Systems supporting visual computing through new graphics and video device capabilities, DVD, scanners and digital cameras, and other devices

  • Systems that support OnNow power management, including the advanced configuration and power interface (ACPI) specification, Plug-and-Play device configuration, and power management in PC systems

  • Systems supporting the latest manageability interfaces , targeted at reducing the cost of ownership in the enterprise, improving the value of corporate PC usage and driving simplicity in managing PCs in the corporate environment

Components of the PC 98 Design Guide include the following:

  • Graphics adapters. 2-D and 3-D acceleration are refined for the design guide, and new topics are introduced for supporting accelerated graphics port (AGP), a video port and the DirectDraw® API video port extensions (VPE) for improved display of video playback.

  • Video, still image and broadcast capabilities. To take advantage of new video and other imaging support in Windows and in new hardware, the design guide highlights MPEG-2 playback, data transfer and playback quality, and digital TV and digital satellite TV.

  • Audio. The design guide audio chapter differentiates performance expectations for consumer vs. business audio, including digital output readiness and new performance metrics.

  • Storage. The design guide completes the migration to bus master support for all controllers and devices. Other changes clarify implementation requirements for DVD, emphasizing the importance of bus mastering and the migration from ISA to IEEE 1394 for storage.

  • Modems. The design guide enables PCs to keep current with new modem technology, including universal serial bus (USB) controllerless and software modems, and to migrate modems off the ISA bus.

  • Networking communications. The design guide also covers networking advances, requiring all network devices to be implemented with NDIS 5.0 drivers and new Windows 95-style INF files. In addition, the guide discusses how to support new “push” technologies. A PC 98 system that uses a network adapter as a boot device to support installing the operating system must have a network adapter compatible with new remote system setup capabilities defined in the Network PC (NetPC) System Design Guidelines developed by Compaq, Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel and Microsoft.

The review draft of the PC 98 Design Guide 0.6 is available at http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/pc98.htm and (http://www.intel.com/) .

Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of personal computer, networking and communications products.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT and DirectDraw are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

If you are interested in viewing additional information on Intel, please visit the Intel home page at (http://developer.intel.com/)

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