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Outstanding K7!

        At late San Jose Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, AMD made an impressive announcement. They revealed that they would ship their latest product called K7 in mid 1999. This might appear surprising, if you remember their previous announcement : K6-3 is supposed to be on the market just after next Christmas. 

       Well, you might think that this announcement is similar to Intel's ones. Intel releases a new chip every six months, but can you make the difference between them but in terms of processor speeds. The AMD K7 is not a K6++ or whatever you may call it. This is really a new processor :

       Indeed the K7 comes with a bunch of new features such as :

    • 128 KB 2 way associative L1 cache ( 64 KB inst, 64 KB data ), which is 4 times what Intel offers in its latest Xeon processor.
    • 512 KB CPU L2 cache which speed will vary from 1/3 to full CPU core speed. The size can be upgraded up to 8 MB.
    • 3 FPU pipelines ( in comparison the Intel Katmai has a dual pipe lined FPU. These 3 FPUs should show Intel how important an FPU is for a CPU :-))
    • 3 integer pipelines.
    • EV6 CPU local bus architecture, which should enable the usage of the K7 in high end multi-processors servers. For your information the EV6 bus is the well known Alpha CPU system bus.
    • and still the 3D now technology.

      The AMD K7 should be available at a minimum of 500 MHz on 1H 99 which corresponds to the estimated speed target for the Intel's Katmai and Tanner CPUs. 

      All this sounds great don't you think so? But the key issues for the success of the K7 are : the ability of AMD to deliver on time, the commitment from other parties to deliver Slot A compatible hardware and the reaction of Intel after this announcement.
       Should the K7 be delayed and AMD will be in deep trouble as the K7 will face harsh competition from Intel IA64 new chip ( Merced ) which is scheduled for 1H 2000.

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