Bits & Bytes
THIS CHIP DOES ONLY WINDOWS, BUT IT MAKES THEM SPARKLE
Windows 3.0 from Microsoft Corp. has allowed IBM and IBM-compatible PC workers to break away from the "one screen, one program" limitations of MS-DOS. But the power to divide a computer screen into several work areas, or windows, also has its problems. Controlling and moving all those windows of information, for example, can tax the PC's central microprocessor--especially the 1984-vintage Intel Corp. 80286 chips used in millions of IBM PC/AT-class machines.
To help make Windows run as much as 18 times faster, Weitek Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif., has developed a new kind of microchip that is designed exclusively for Windows' graphics-intensive operations. Normally, Windows draws lines and moves graphical objects across a screen by running special programs on the PC's main processor. But Weitek's W5086 chip can do those same functions itself, without bothering the main processor or altering the Windows program. Weitek expects to see several PC add-in boards and perhaps even complete PCs using the chip by next fall's Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG