Cyrix Corporation, makers of the Intel x86-compatible 6x86 line of CPUs, is planning a low-cost platform for business computers that would enable $500 computers that could run Windows NT 5.0. The Cyrix MediaGX processor platform incorporates Cyrix's 180 MHz CPU, an Ethernet adapter and a remote-controllable BIOS. 200 MHz and 300 MHz of the MediaGX processor are expected soon as well. Cyrix keeps costs low by incorporating memory, audio, video, and PCI controllers on a single chip, rather than with add-on cards.

Cyrix worked with Microsoft to develop drivers for the system that work with Windows NT 5.0 and both companies will demonstrate the systems next week at Fall Comdex.

"We're moving the MediaGX into corporate very fast," said Steve Tobak, VP of corporate and channel marketing for Cyrix. "We are about two years ahead of Intel," said Tobak, noting that Intel is busy working on sub-$1000 PCs, not $500 machines that do the same thing. "This is complete validation of what we've been doing; we expect at least one top-tier customer using this in a NetPC or a managed PC in the first half of '98."

Cyrix will demonstrate some other impressive technologies at Comdex, including a 300 MHz MMX-enabled 6x86 running on an 83 MHz bus and a 266 MHz MMX 6x86 running on a 75 MHz bus. Intel systems are limited to a 66 MHz bus at this time, though a 100 MHz bus, which requires a special chipset and a new type of Pentium II, will be available in 1998. Cyrix has also announced plans to incorporate Ethernet capability directly into their CPUs