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AMD K6-III mobile may trash Transmeta on thermals

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The K6-III microprocessor is in desperately short supply, we can confirm, leading to speculation that the desktop version of the microprocessor is, as we suggested some time back, not long for this world. Instead, AMD will position the K6-III, with level two cache on board, as a very cool embedded processor. When we say cool, we are talking about the thermals on the part, and AMD is almost about to give away these parts for practically nothing. NexGen and technology also licensed from Digital could turn the part into a virtual give-away. The fabs are running and AMD confirmed to The Register two weeks ago that the K6-III has a future, but in the mobile market. PC manufacturers said yesterday that they were still receiving supplies of K6-IIIs, but that was only because they were regular customers of the company. The current K6-III part is almost unobtainable if you try to source it from the usual component suppliers, according to several frustrated readers, who have been trying to find the part all week. It spells the end to the Super Socket Seven, if AMD and its customers are to believed. AMD itself will neither confirm nor deny that the future of the K6-III processor looks bleak. According to AMD's European market analyst Rana Mainee, "Everyone who wants a K6-III is satisfied". A source at a major European distributor said the product has, effectively, been shelved. "The situation is somewhat confusing even to us as a distributor," he said. "The K6-III does not really feature in AMD's plans this year. We have a very small amount of units in stock, and have no place to replace them when those are sold." He said: "The price drops that are happening this week follow AMD's roadmap, which is the Athlon, the K6-2+ and the K6-2. Eventually, the K6-III will price itself out of the market anyway, as AMD introduces new products." This differs from another version we have now on board, which is that the cache-on-chip die is going to become the SpeedStep killer, very soon. A source tells us that AMD has now so far reduced the voltage on the parts that the Texas-based chip company can beat Transmeta, hands down. Transmeta is selling two versions of its Intel mobile Pentium III killer, although prices for the part are hard to get. Sources tell The Register that behind the scenes, there are very low thermal K6-III microprocessors using copper interconnect technology being developed and perfected at AMD's Dresden part, in Germany. When the Dresden part ramps up, we are given to understand, AMD will be able to ramp up any number of K6-IIIs for mobiles. There are back room boys in an area of the fab in Dresden, working on mobile communications, we understand from our visit there last August. Some of them might even work for Motorola. AMD was unavailable for comment at press time. ® See also AMD K6-III not dead, merely resting

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