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Cyrix M3 Athlon Killer strangled at birth by Via

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Sources close to Cyrix, Via and IDT Centaur have now given us yet more facts and figures about Via's decision to shut down M3 development and suggested that the Taiwanese company has shot itself in both feet by choosing the WinChip instead. (See Cyrix layoffs confirmed at Richardson, Arlington) According to the sources, who declined, for obvious reasons, to be named, the architects had succeeded in producing M3 designs with similar performance to AMD's Athlon K7 but at 40 per cent of the die size. And Via's decision to lay off engineers has now dissolved a superior team of architects which had succeeded in severely good optimisation, the sources added. According to the different sources, Cyrix could afford to use very large onboard cache which would have outweighed the effects of slower S370 bus design on overall performance. System performance scaled linearly to a point with clock speed until about 1.2GHz. Right up until the last minute, it appeared that Via believed in the M3 processor, according to sources close to the Taiwanese company. However, Via was primarily interested in the Cyrix intellectual property, which will present a bulletproof defence against Intel's current lawsuit. According to yet another separate source, this means that Via is not really interested in producing processors at all, but in continuing to push its chipset business. It has picked up the Centaur line for a song and this is a separate line of defence against Chipzilla (Intel). Via could not be officially contacted at press time for an explanation of the affair. ®

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