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Intel Unwraps Hannacroix Concept PC

Intel Corp. this month took the wrapping off Hannacroix, a concept PC intended to showcase ideas, technologies and futures to help developers and integrators design and build future PC platforms.

Intel's Desktop Platform Solutions Division, which developed Hannacroix, turned to vendors including Intersil, Silicon Wave, Molex, NEC, Cypress, Agere, Foxconn, Seagate, Marvell, Cirrus Logic and Kawasaki to build the demonstration project, which focuses on wireless features, high-speed input/output connections, storage technology and audio features.

Specifically, Hannacroix features:

  • Intel Pentium 4 Processor Performance with the Intel 850 chipset
  • Wireless connectivity utilizing both 802.11b and Bluetooth technology
  • Multiple high-speed I/O connections including USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394a
  • Next generation storage I/O utilizing new Serial ATA (SATA) technology
  • Multi-channel high-performance audio via six analog outputs or Sony/Philips Digital Interface (S/PDI)
  • Control features for personal video recorders and home theater systems
  • A legacy-free platform for simplified user cable connections.

On the wireless front, Intel used a high-speed Home Gateway Communications Network Riser (CNR) card to provide 802.11b connectivity, intended to allow users to connect the PC to other PCs, tablets and PDAs wirelessly. The concept PC also eliminates the need for cables or base stations between the PC and the mouse, keyboard, printer and other I/O devices through an internal USB 1.1-based Silicon Wave Bluetooth solution.

The PC also features high-speed I/O connections to help users create a home system for printing, scanning, audio and video (cameras and DVDs). The box contains a USB 2.0 high-speed I/O for high-bandwidth peripherals like printers, scanners and cameras. The box offers ports on the front panel, legacy-free back panel, the CNR card and through an internal auxiliary connector. Access to the high-speed ports is through an NEC Electronics USB 2.0 five-port host controller on the motherboard and a four-port USB 2.0 hub. There are an additional four more high-speed USB ports on the system's CNR card through a Cypress Semiconductor four-point USB 2.0 hub.

Hannacroix also uses a three-port 1394a solution, allowing users to maintain high-speed connections between the PC and various video-input devices. The solution is built on an Agere Systems 1394a controller and a stacked 1394/USB connector.

Hannacroix also includes two LAN ports to support two separate LAN connections, allowing users broadband access through one port while leaving the second free to connect to another PC. Hannacroix uses the Kawasaki LSI High-Speed Fast Ethernet solution and achieves dual-Ethernet capability by combining it with an Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection on the motherboard.

For additional home networking options, Hannacroix utilizes Home Gateway's HPNA (home phone-line networking) 2.0 implementation to allow connections using phone lines that already exist in the home.

As for storage, Hannacroix combines the Marvell SATA bridge chip with the Seagate native SATA hard disk, which Intel said gives it ultra-fast data-transfer and data-access rates.

Finally, Hannacroix is an attempt to show audiophiles that the PC is a performance audio system. Intel said that through a combination of its Pentium 4 processor, the Intel ICH2 (I/O Controller Hub 2) AC'97 interface and the Cirrus Logic 4201 Codec, Hannacroix can drive up to six analog speakers with a full surround-sound experience, or, control a complete digital-5.1 speaker ensemble. A DVD/CD drive can play DVDs, MP3 files, games and CDs, while Hannacroix's wireless connectivity can play audio through a remote speaker system or play DVDs on a television.

Hannacroix was created as a demonstration model, not for resale. It will be making an appearance at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas this week.