Multimedia PC Level 1 and Level 2 Specifications

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Summary

The Multimedia PC (MPC) Specification was published by the Multimedia PC Marketing Council in 1990 to encourage the adoption of a standard multimedia computing platform. In May 1993, the MPC Marketing Council published a new specification called MPC2 (or Level 2 Specification) as an enhanced multimedia computer standard. The original MPC specification, now also known as the MPC Level 1 Specification, continues in full effect.

The appearance of the MPC or MPC2 certification mark on a computer system or upgrade kit indicates that the hardware meets the corresponding (Level 1 or Level 2) MPC Marketing Council specification. Software bearing the Multimedia PC mark has been designed to work on Multimedia PC licensed hardware.

By establishing a standardized platform, certifying hardware compliance, and providing interoperability between software and hardware for the consumer, the MPC Marketing Council is encouraging widespread use of multimedia applications and hardware.

The following chart compares key requirements and recommendations of the Multimedia PC Level 1 and Level 2 Specifications.

More information

Minimum Requirements

                Level 1                Level 2
                ------------------------------

RAM             2 MB                   4 MB
Processor       386SX, 16 MHz          486SX, 25 MHz
Hard Drive      30 MB                  160 MB
CD-ROM Drive
  Sustained     150 KB/sec.            300 KB/sec
     Data
     Transfer
     Rate
  Maximum       1 second               400 milliseconds
     Average
     Seek
     Time
  Other                                CD-ROM XA ready,
                                       Multisession capable
Sound           8-bit digital sound,   16-bit digital sound,

                8-note synthesizer,    8-note synthesizer,
                MIDI playback          MIDI playback
Video Display   640 x 480, 16 colors   640 x 480, 65,536 colors
Ports           MIDI I/O, joystick     MIDI I/O, joystick
				

Recommendations

RAM                                    8 MB
CD-ROM Drive    64 KB on-board buffer  64 KB on-board buffer
Sound                                  CD-ROM XA audio ability,
                                       support for IMA adopted
                                       ADPCM algorithm
Video           640 x 480, 256 colors  Delivery of 1.2 megapixels/sec.
                                       given 40 percent of CPU bandwidth.
				
NOTE: The above requirements are the minimum system requirements; they do not constitute a recommendation by the Multimedia PC Marketing Council for a particular system configuration.

Minimum Full System MPC (Level 1) Configuration

A full Multimedia PC system requires the following elements and components, all of which must meet the full functional specifications outlined below. Please note that this is a minimum system requirement and not a recommendation for a particular system configuration.
CPU                    386SX or compatible microprocessor
RAM                    2 megabytes of RAM
Magnetic Storage       1.44-MB floppy disk drive, 30-MB hard disk drive
Optical Storage        CD-ROM with CD-DA outputs
Audio                  DAC, ADC, music synthesizer, on-board analog
                       audio mixing
Video                  VGA graphics adapter
Input                  101 key keyboard, two button mouse
I/O                    Serial port, parallel port, MIDI I/O port,
                       joystick port
System Software        Windows 3.1 or Windows 3.0 with Multimedia
                       Extensions (or binary compatible)
				

Minimum MPC (Level 1) Upgrade Kit Configuration

A Multimedia PC Upgrade Kit requires the following elements and components, all of which must meet the full functional specifications outlined below.
Optical Storage        CD-ROM with CD-DA outputs
Audio                  DAC, ADC, music synthesizer, on-board analog
                       audio mixing
I/O                    Serial port, parallel port, MIDI I/O port,
                       joystick port
System Software        Providing system software with upgrade kits
                       is optional.
				

Full Functional MPC (Level 1) Specification

CPU

Minimum requirement: 386SX (or compatible) microprocessor

RAM

Minimum requirement: 2 megabytes of RAM

Magnetic Storage

Requirement: 3.5-inch, high density (1.44-MB) floppy disk drive.

Minimum requirement: 30-MB hard disk drive.

Optical Storage

Requirement: CD-ROM drive with sustained 150kB/second transfer rate; average seek time of 1 second or less; 10,000 hours MTBF; mode 1 capability (mode 2 and form 1 & 2 optional); MSCDEX 2.2 driver that implements the extended audio APIs; subchannel Q (subchannels P and R-W optional--if R-W subchannel support is provided, additional APIs must be implemented in MSCDEX driver; specifications for these additional APIs are available from Microsoft).

The drive must be capable of maintaining a sustained transfer rate of 150kB/sec. without consuming more than 40 percent of the CPU bandwidth in the process. It is recommended that this capability be achieved for read block sizes no less than 16K and lead time of no more than is required to load the CD-ROM buffer with 1 read block of data.

It is recommended that the drive have on-board buffers of 64K and implement read-ahead buffering.

Audio

Requirement: CD-ROM drive with CD-DA (Red Book) outputs and a front panel volume control.

Requirement: 8-bit (16-bit recommended) digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with linear PCM sampling; DMA or FIFO buffered transfer capability with interrupt on buffer empty; 22.05 and 11.025 kHz sample rate mandatory.

44.1 kHz sampling rate desirable; optional stereo channels; no more than 10 percent of the CPU bandwidth required to output 11.025 or 22.05 kHz; no more than 15 percent for 44.1 kHz.

Requirement: 8-bit (16-bit recommended) analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with linear PCM sampling, 11.025 kHz mandatory, (22.01 kHz, or 44.1 kHz sampling rate optional); DMA or FIFO buffered transfer capability with interrupt on buffer full; microphone input.

Requirement: Internal synthesizer hardware with multi-voice, multi-timbral capabilities, six simultaneous melody notes plus two simultaneous percussive notes.

Requirement: Internal mixing capabilities to combine input from three (recommended four) sources and present the output as a stereo, line-level audio signal at the back panel. The four sources are: CD Red Book, synthesizer, DAC (waveform), and (recommended but not required) an auxiliary input source. Each input must have at least a 3-bit volume control (eight steps) with a logarithmic taper.

A 4-bit or greater volume control is strongly recommended. If all sources are sourced with -10dB (consumer line level: 1 milliwatt into 700 ohms=0dB) without attenuation, the mixer will not clip and will output between 0 dB and +3 dB. Individual audio source and master digital volume control registers and extra line-level audio sources are highly recommended.

Video

Requirement: VGA-compatible display adapter, and a color VGA- compatible monitor. A basic Multimedia PC uses mode 12h (640 x 480, 16 colors).

An enhanced configuration referred to as VGA+ is recommended with 640 x 480, 256 colors.

The recommended performance goal for VGA+ adapters is to be able to blit 1, 4, and 8 bit-per-pixel DIBs (device independent bitmaps) at 350K pixels/second given 100 percent of the CPU, and at 140K pixels/second given 40 percent of the CPU. This recommendation applies to run-length encoded images and non-encoded images. The recommended performance is needed to fully support high-performance applications, such as synchronized audio-visual presentations.

User Input

Requirement: Standard 101-key IBM-style keyboard with standard DIN connector, or keyboard that delivers identical functionality utilizing key-combinations.

Requirement: Two-button mouse with bus or serial connector, with at least one additional communication port remaining free.

I/O

Requirement: Standard 9-pin or 25-pin asynchronous serial port, programmable up to 9600 bits per second (BPS), switchable interrupt channel.

Requirement: Standard 25-pin bidirectional parallel port with interrupt capability.

Requirement: 1 MIDI port with In, Out, and Thru must have interrupt support for input and FIFO transfer.

Requirement: IBM-style analog or digital joystick port.

System Software

Multimedia PC system software must offer binary compatibility with Microsoft Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions or Windows 3.1.

Minimum Full System MPC2 (Level 2) Configuration

Same configuration as Level 1 with all elements and components meeting MPC2 (Level 2) full functional requirements outlined below.

Unless all the new MPC2 or Level 2 requirements are included, a system is considered a Level 1 machine.

Minimum MPC2 (Level 2) Upgrade Kit Configuration

Same configuration as Level 1 with all elements and components meeting MPC2 (Level 2) full functional requirements outlined below.

Full Functional MPC2 (Level 2) Specification

The following elements are specific to the Level 2 specification; only changes and additions from the Level 1 specification are listed. All other elements from the Level 1 specification are in effect as well for the Level 2 specification.

CPU

Minimum requirement: 25 MHz 486SX (or compatible) microprocessor.

RAM

Minimum requirement: 4 megabytes of RAM (8 megabytes recommended).

Magnetic Storage

Requirement: 160-MB or larger hard disk drive.

Optical Storage

Requirements: CD-ROM drive capable of sustained 300 KB/sec. transfer rate, average seek time of 400 milliseconds or less, CD-ROM XA ready (mode 1 capable, mode 2 form 1 capable, mode 2 form 2 capable), multisession capable.

At 300 KB/sec. sustained transfer rate it is recommended that no more than 60 percent of the CPU bandwidth be consumed. It is recommended that the CPU utilization recommendation be achieved for read block sizes no less than 16K and lead time of no more than is required to load the CD-ROM buffer with 1 read block of data.

Audio

Requirement: 16-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), 44.1 kHz sample rate mandatory, stereo channels; no more than 15 percent of the CPU bandwidth be required to output 44.1 kHz.

Requirement: 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with Linear PCM sampling; 44.1 kHz sample rate mandatory.

CD-ROM XA audio capability is recommended.

Support for the IMA adopted ADPCM software algorithm is recommended.

Video

Requirement: Color monitor with display resolution of 640 x 480 with 65,536 (64K) colors. The recommended performance goal for VGA+ adapters is to be able to blit 1, 4, and 8 bit-per-pixel DIBs (device independent bitmaps) at 1.2 megapixels/second given 40 percent of the CPU. This recommendation applies to run-length encoded images and non-encoded images. The recommended performance is needed to fully support demanding multimedia applications including the delivery of video with 320 x 240 resolution at 16 frames/second and 256 colors.

User Input

No changes from Level 1.

I/O

No changes from Level 1.

System Software

No changes from Level 1.

MORE INFORMATION

For additional information regarding multimedia personal computers, multimedia titles, information on upgrading an existing system, information on how to gain approval for the Multimedia PC (MPC or MPC2) logo(s), and other general multimedia topics of interest, please contact the Multimedia PC Marketing Council at the following location:
Multimedia PC Marketing Council, Inc.
1730 M Street NW
Suite 707
Washington, DC 20036-4510

Voice: (202) 331-0494, Extension 340
Fax: (202) 785-3197
NOTE: The Multimedia Development Council is the owner of the MPC and MPC2 logos.

For information regarding a specific multimedia product, contact the manufacturer of that product.

For related information from the Software Publishers Association, see the following Web page:
http://www.siia.net/

References

"Multimedia PC Level 1 and Level 2 Specifications," Multimedia PC Marketing Council

Properties

Article ID: 106055 - Last Review: October 25, 2012 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11
Keywords: 
KB106055

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