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Irvine Firms to Use New Intel Chip in Products

Times Staff Writer

Two Irvine computer makers were among the first companies to announce plans to develop products using a new-generation computer chip from Intel Corp.

Personal computer makers AST Research Inc. and Advanced Logic Research Inc. said they will begin designing machines that will use Intel’s 80486 microprocessor, the brains of a personal computer.

Intel announced its new chip, which it said is twice as fast as its current 80386 model, at Comdex, a computer trade show. AST said it expects to market a PC using the new Intel chip within the next 12 months. It said the new computer will use a computer design known as Enhanced Industry Standard Architecture (EISA).

AST is one of about a dozen computer companies that last year endorsed EISA as an alternative computer design to one developed by International Business Machines for its PS/2 personal computer line.

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“We view the Intel 80486 microprocessor as a major technological advance for the personal computer industry,” said Tom Yuen, AST co-chairman and chief operating officer.

The technology “will play a pivotal role in applications developed for the next decade of desktop computing.”

Advanced Logic Research did not say when it expects to come out with an 80486 computer, but the company’s past strategy has been to try to be first to market with new technology. Gene Lu, ALR’s president, said the new Intel chip should provide a boost for the personal computer industry, which has been hurt by slowing sales in 1989.

“Anytime you have a new technology, there is always opportunity for generating new uses for PCs,” Lu said.

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Larry Fortmuller, AST’s director of product marketing, said it will probably be 2 years before software is developed that will take full advantage of the 80486 chip’s power.

AST and ALR also said Monday that they will come out next month with PCs that utilize a more powerful version of Intel’s current 80386 chip.

ALR said it will offer five models using the faster 80386 chip, selling for $3,995 to $9,595. AST plans to offer three models, priced between $6,595 and $11,195.

CMS Enhancements, a Tustin based maker of personal computer storage and other accessories, said it also plans to offer products for 80486 machines.

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