Gecko's CPU Library

Cyrix MediaGX processors

Introduction: 1997

The Cyrix MediaGX is designed for low-end sub-$1,000 retail store systems that must be highly integrated and low priced. The MediaGX integrates the sound, graphics, and memory control by putting these functions directly within the processor. With all these functions pulled "on chip", MediaGX-based PCs are priced lower than other systems with similar features.

The MediaGX processor integrates the PCI interface, coupled with audio, graphics, and memory control functions, right into the processor unit. As such, a system with the MediaGX doesn’t require a costly graphics or sound card. Not only that, but on the motherboard level, the MediaGX and its companion chip replace the processor, North and South Bridge chips, the memory control hardware, and L2 cache found on competitive Pentium boards. Finally, the simplified PC design of the MediaGX, along with its low-power and low-heat characteristics, allow the OEM PC manufacturer to design a system in a smaller form factor with a reduced power-supply requirement.

The MediaGX processor is not a Socket 7 processor; in fact, it does not go in a socket at all - it is permanently soldered into its motherboard. Because of the processor's high level of integration, motherboards supporting MediaGX processors and its companion chip (Cx5510) are of a different design than conventional Pentium boards. As such, a system with the MediaGX processor is more of a disposable system than an upgradable system.

The MediaGX is fully Windows-compatible and will run the same software as an equivalent Pentium. You can expect a MediaGX system to provide equivalent performance as a given Pentium system at the same megahertz. The difference with the MediaGX is that this performance level is achieved at a much lower cost. Because the MediaGX processor is soldered into the motherboard and requires a custom chipset, it is only sold in a complete motherboard form.

There is also an improved MMX-enhanced MediaGX processor that features MPEG1 support, Microsoft PC97 compliance for Plug-and-Play access, integrated game port control, and AC97 audio compliance. It supports Windows 95 and DOS-based games, and MMX software as well. Such systems will also include two universal serial bus (USB) ports, which will accommodate the new generation of USB peripherals such as printers, scanners, joysticks, cameras, and more.

The MediaGX processor is offered at 166 and 180MHz, while the MMX-enhanced MediaGX processor is available at 200MHz and 233MHz.

Source: Upgrading and Repairing PCs (13th Edition) by Scott Mueller.