AMD kicks butt with 600MHz K7 demo

Processor to take Intel head-on

Chip company AMD has shown a K7 processor running at 600MHz at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, and has revealed more details of its plans for the product. Our photographs are here. Gary Bixler, K7 product marketing manager at AMD's Austin microprocessor division, said: "The K7's going to very high performance and will allow us to compete [with Intel] from the lowest to the highest level. The combination of the K7 and the K6 will allow us to compete with Intel and the K7 will compete in the high end space." He said AMD was not yet ready to talk about chipsets but he said: "It will have a feature set to match its performance." As well as showing us a demonstration of the K7 at 600MHz, Bixler also showed a motherboard with three ISA slots, four PCI slots and one AGP slot. "Partners already have reference designs," said Bixler. He said AMD continued to be on target for its release date. He would not say whether AMD was developing a 64-bit processor. "It takes a long time to develop one," he said. "Clearly we have other things in design. The K8, for example, is well down the road." He revealed that the very first K7 was built using an Alpha system. "We know it works with Alpha and we have partners that are interested in it. But software and BIOS work would need to be done," he said. "The Alpha bus is the EV6 bus." He said that AMD was, at least initially, committed to the slot. "Our initial product will be on a module. Over time, K7 customers in the value segment may have to look at alternative form factors." At launch date, the K7 will use the same 3DNow! extensions as the K6, but Bixler said: "Clearly we'll move that forward." The first K7s will come out of its Austin fab, Bixler confirmed, with production at Dresden starting later. The K7 will support all different types of memory modules from 512K up to 8Mb of address space, as second level cache, said Bixler. He said that AMD was likely to develop Rambus chipsets for the platform. He claimed that the K7, at release date, would match and surpass anything that Intel could produce on the 32-bit platform. He also said that higher frequency K6-IIIs would be rolled out during the year. On volumes of processors, Bixler acknowledged that demand was high but he said AMD was taking steps to address that problem. ®

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