A computer system optimized for real-time applications which provides increased performance over current computer architectures. The system includes a standard local system bus or expansion bus, such as the PCI bus, and also includes a dedicated real-time bus or multimedia bus. Various multimedia devices are coupled to one or more of the expansion bus and/or the multimedia bus. The computer system expansion bus implements a new mode of operation specifically for real-time transfers. A real time signal is used to indicate that the expansion bus should be placed in a special real time mode. When not in special real time mode, the expansion bus operates as usual. The real time mode is optimized for the transfer of high bandwidth real-time information. The computer system of the present invention thus provides much greater performance for real-time applications than prior systems.
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