Can The Modular Bus Thwart Computer Obsolescence?

It's a sickening feeling for most PC buyers. The speed-demon computer system you bought today will be considered obsolete by this time next year, if not sooner. For example, even though Intel Corp.'s 486 microprocessor is still the champ chip for PCs, the recent release of the Pentium already guarantees its obsolescence. Even modular PCs, which allow owners to swap out processors, aren't safe. The Pentium is so advanced that it may force changes in basic PC design and "bus architecture," the wiring that connects the microprocessor to such parts as the hard-disk drives. Accelerated Systems Inc., based in Princeton, N. J., thinks it has the solution.

Instead of directly connecting the microprocessor onto a motherboard of a specific bus design, its Lexar computer has just one slot connected to the microprocessor. In effect, the bus becomes an upgradable component. Currently, buyers can choose from among the 10-year-old Industry Standard Architecture and two versions of the newer so-called local-bus technology, such as the VL-Bus standard introduced late last year by the Video Equipment Standards Assn.

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