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Dirk Meyer spills K7 beanz

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Old News Several of our readers wondered why we didn't cover AMD's Dirk Meyer's speech last Thursday. Thanks, those who emailed. The answer is as follows: we were at a wedding in Italy, near Lake Orta, and didn't take our ThinkPad or any other technology with us, apart from our mobile phone. And by the way, a black mark for Al Italia, who couldn't seem to get us home on time last night. Our invoice will be in the post. Now we've had a chance to look at the available material, it's worth summarising it. The K7, whether its called the Athlon or not, has half clock level two cache but still manages to be 36 per cent faster than the Pentium III Xeon in a spec95 floating point comparison. The correct comparison seems to be that a K7-600 beats a PIII/800MHz in floating point performance. And the K7 will better an equivalent Pentium III by around 40 per cent or even greater, Meyer seemed to be saying. AMD will offer different level two cache configurations this year, and Meyer said there will be no overhead when switching between MMX, 3DNow! or x.87. A further 19 integer instructions have been added to 3DNow! According to Meyer, the K7 will move to .18 micron in Q4, although this somewhat contradicts the story we have written here elsewhere today. The K7 will have 22 million transistors on a 184 square mm die. Motherboards at launch will use the AMD chipset, but our friends at Via, ALi and SiS are developing alternative chipsets, as reported here. As an aside, we wonder how Intel-only distributors will react to the introduction of the K7, as for the first time AMD's marchitecture threatens their mid-range and high-end business... Our thanks to AMDZone and JC for doing much of the spadework on Meyer's speech. ® RegiStroid .10 micron A dirk is a wee Scottish dagger that fits nicely in your sock and will probably deliver a fatal blow if you find the vulnerable point in a dinosaur's hide.

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