Rivals hit 100MHz

Rivals hit 100MHz
Richard Ball reports on the latest semiconductors and products from CeBIT, in Hannover, GermanyChief pretenders to the Intel throne, AMD and Cyrix, previewed microprocessors with a 100MHz system bus at CeBIT. AMD’s offering is the K6-3D, to be launched officially on May 27. Along with the system bus speed increase, it has improved floating point performace to speed up 3D graphics. “The 3D technology is 24 new instructions,” said AMD’s Claes Berglund. They will do for floating point what MMX did for integer data, he said. Cyrix has yet to adopt the instructions. The two companies have first to agree whether to use the same set. “The plan is for Cyrix and IDT to use the same instructions as us,” said Berglund. By early next year, AMD plans to release the K6-3D+. “This integrates the level two cache on chip which will operate at the processor clock speed,” said Berglund. He claimed the device will match the performance of Intel’s Katmai processor. Cyrix meanwhile seems more concerned with pushing for cheaper devices, with its 6x86MX and MediaGX processors. “In 1998 we will see a $599 price for a PC,” said Forrest Norrod, a Cyrix senior director. “The same phenomenon which swept the consumer market in the US last year will hit Europe and Asia this year.” As with AMD, getting devices manufactured is Cyrix’s biggest headache. “Volumes are critical – on our own Cyrix was limited to five or six million units a year,” said Steve Tobak, v-p of marketing at Cyrix. Having been acquired by National, Cyrix’s fortunes may change. The 6x86MX is currently running through a 0.25?m pilot fab at National.


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