National Semiconductor offers "PC-on-a-Chip"

National Semiconductor has released a so-called "PC-on-a-Chip" capable of integrating most of the functions of a computer and information appliances.

The chip, called the GeodeSC1400, can work in TV set-top boxes that provide Web browsing features; in "thin client" computers that use servers for most processing functions; and in portable Web-access devices, according to National Semiconductor.

The Geode uses National Semiconductor's MediaGX processor to integrate into a single silicon chip digital video and major PC functions, with the exception of DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and high voltage components, said Mike Brozda, a National Semiconductor spokesman. The major functions integrated by the chip include the processor, system logic, graphics, MPEG video decompression, audio, TV input/output and peripheral input/output, all of which require at least six separate chips in a conventional set-top box.

The chip will be altered to fit the use envisioned by customers, according to Brozda. "This is almost chip technology on demand," he said. "We can mix and match functionality or defer to customer requests."

Since National Semiconductor first announced its plan to produce a "PC-on-a-Chip" in April 1998, increasing demand for Internet access has led the company to specifically target the Internet-capable information appliance market, such as set-top video. National Semiconductor also has added the MPEG video decoding function to the original feature set.

The chip will allow manufacturers to build new information appliances that will give consumers easier access to the Internet, according to an analyst. "This chip looks like it can do a lot of things," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64, a research and consulting firm in Saratoga, California.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jack McCarthy

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?