AMD Introduces AMD-K6®-2 Processor with New 3DNow!™ Technology
--3DNow!™ Technology Supported by Microsoft's DirectX 6.0, Independent Software Vendors, and Major PC Makers--
ATLANTA, GA --
AMD today introduced the AMD-K6®-2 processor here at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). The first Microsoft® Windows® compatible x86 microprocessor with 3DNow!™ technology, the AMD-K6-2 processor combines 3DNow!™ instructions and superscalar MMX™ capability to deliver lifelike images and graphics, big-screen sound and video, and an enhanced Internet experience.
"For the first time, AMD has introduced a processor that is differentiated not solely by megahertz or price but by innovative technology that delivers a new level of 3D performance and realism," said S. Atiq Raza, AMD executive vice president and chief technical officer.
"The AMD-K6-2 enables a new generation of high-performance desktop systems that advance the state of the art in 3D and multimedia computing," added Raza.
PC makers worldwide, including IBM and Fujitsu, intend to use the AMD-K6-2 processor with 3DNow!™ technology in forthcoming systems. AMD-K6-2 processor-based systems are available now in thousands of retail outlets worldwide. In the U.S., CTX, CyberMax, Tiger Direct, and other PC manufacturers currently offer desktop systems powered by the AMD-K6-2 processor.
"AMD's new K6-2 processors with 3DNow!™ technology offer consumers the leading edge in 3D performance. We support AMD in this technology innovation that will deliver an outstanding, realistic multimedia experience to consumers," said Brian J. Connors, vice president, IBM Aptiva.
"The AMD-K6-2 is a miraculous chip, not only because it incorporates a new design technology and in many ways modernizes the way chips will be designed in the future, but because it creates a beneficial processor alternative at the leading edge," said John C. Dvorak, contributing editor and columnist for PC Magazine. "This is critical to the growth of the industry. Competition is good for the consumer. AMD is leading the way in developing and producing an important enhancement to the x86 architecture."
Microsoft, ISV, and IHV Support for 3DNow!™ Technology
Microsoft Corporation is supporting 3DNow!™ technology in DirectX 6.0, a common set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for multimedia services in the Windows platform. DirectX 6.0 optimized for 3DNow!™ technology is expected to be available in July 1998.
"Software developers as well as end users will benefit from broad industry acceptance of the new 3DNow!™ instruction set," said Jay Torborg, director of graphics and multimedia for Microsoft. "Through our support for 3DNow!™ in Direct3D, software applications can take advantage of the technology's powerful capabilities without additional effort on the part of developers. The end result is a rich 3D multimedia environment that enables a more compelling and realistic Windows experience for our customers."
Software applications that leverage the forthcoming DirectX 6.0 API, as well as the OpenGL 1.2 API and 3Dfx Glide API, will automatically benefit from improved 3D performance because these APIs will be optimized for 3DNow!™ technology.
"As a totally biased game developer, all I care about is pure 3D horsepower," said David Perry, president, Shiny Entertainment. "While most PC processors continue to be focused on making the cursor in my word processor blink a little faster, AMD is embracing the future and, with 3DNow!™ technology, has harnessed the 3D prowess of the AMD-K6-2 processor to make state-of-the-art 3D games available in your home and on your desk at work."
Numerous software titles, including Incoming by Rage, Unreal by Epic MegaGames, Microsoft's Baseball 3D, Imagine Studios' Ares Rising, and LiveArt 98 by Viewpoint Data Labs, have been optimized for 3DNow!™ technology and are available in the marketplace. Many other titles tuned for 3DNow!™ technology, including DreamWorks Interactive's forthcoming Trespasser, are expected to debut throughout the year.
3D graphics drivers optimized for 3DNow!™ technology will soon be available for the Nvidia Riva 128, 3Dfx Voodoo2, ATI Rage Pro, and Matrox G-series graphics accelerators.
High Performance Supported by the Super7™ Platform
The AMD-K6-2 processor supports the 100-MHz bus specification of the Super7™ platform. The 100-MHz local bus interface speeds up access to the level 2 (L2) cache and main memory by 50 percent over the 66-MHz Socket 7 bus interface, resulting in a maximum bus bandwidth of 800 megabytes per second and an increase in system performance of as much as two processor speed grades.
Super7™ infrastructure solutions supporting the 100-MHz bus and the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) specification are available now for the AMD-K6-2 processor. Super7™ chipsets are available from VIA Technologies and ALI, and motherboard suppliers supporting the AMD-K6-2 include Biostar, FIC, Microstar and many others.
"Because of the new 3DNow!™ instruction set and 100-MHz Super7 bus support, the AMD-K6-2 delivers much greater performance than is possible from a simple megahertz improvement," added Raza. "It's truly a step change in 3D performance, providing better overall performance and significantly better 3D performance than Pentium® II."
For equally configured PCs using Microsoft's forthcoming DirectX 6.0, an AMD-K6-2 processor-based system delivers significantly better 3D performance, based on the Ziff-Davis 3D WinBench™ 98 benchmark, than a PC based on the Pentium II. It also delivers mainstream business software performance, based on the Ziff-Davis Winstone® 98 benchmark, equivalent to Pentium II. (See attachment for complete 3D WinBench 98 and Winstone 98 scores and system configurations.)
According to the MaruBench™ benchmark developed by AMD to measure floating point-intensive 3D performance, the AMD-K6-2 processor greatly accelerates the front-end stages of the 3D graphics pipeline compared to Pentium II on application or game physics.
Pricing and Availability
The AMD-K6-2 processor is available now. The AMD-K6-2/333 is priced at $369; the AMD-K6-2/300 at $281; and the AMD-K6-2/266 at $185, each in 1,000-unit quantities. AMD expects to offer a 350-MHz version in the third quarter and a 400-MHz version in the fourth quarter of 1998.
About 3DNow!™ Technology
3DNow!™ technology is the first innovation to the x86 processor architecture that significantly enhances 3D graphics, multimedia, and other floating point-intensive PC applications to enable the emerging "realistic computing platform." 3DNow!™ is a set of 21 new instructions that use SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) and other performance enhancements to open the performance bottleneck in the 3D graphics pipeline between the host CPU and the 3D graphics accelerator card. 3DNow!™ technology accelerates the front-end physics and geometry functions of the 3D graphics pipeline to enable full performance of 3D graphics accelerators.
With its SIMD-style instructions and dual register execution pipelines, the AMD-K6-2 processor can deliver up to four floating point results per clock cycle. The AMD-K6-2/333 has a peak floating point performance of 1.333 Gigaflops, significantly greater than the 0.333-Gigaflop peak performance of a Pentium II 333, or the 0.4-Gigaflop peak performance of a Pentium II 400. The AMD-K6-2/300 has a peak floating point performance of 1.2 Gigaflops, or four times the 3D processing power of a Pentium II 300, rated at peak performance of 0.3 Gigaflops.
With 3DNow!™ technology, more powerful hardware and software applications can bring a new level of 3D performance and realism to Windows compatible PCs. 3DNow!™ works hand-in-hand with leading 3D graphics accelerators to achieve faster frame rates on high-resolution scenes, improved physical modeling of real-world environments, realistic 3D graphics and images, and theater-quality audio and video. 3DNow!™ technology was defined and implemented with input from Microsoft, application developers, graphics vendors, and x86 processor suppliers, and has received enthusiastic industry support. 3DNow!™ technology is compatible with today's existing x86 software and requires no operating system support, thereby enabling 3DNow!™ technology-optimized applications to work with all existing operating systems.
Advanced Process and Interconnection Technology
The 9.3-million-transistor AMD-K6-2 processor is manufactured on AMD's 0.25-micron, five-layer-metal process technology using local interconnect and shallow trench isolation at AMD's Fab 25 wafer fabrication facility in Austin, Texas. The AMD-K6-2 processor is packaged in a Socket 7/Super7 platform-compatible, 321-pin ceramic pin grid array (CPGA) package using C4 flip-chip interconnection technology.
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding AMD-K6 microprocessors that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current plans and expectations. These risks include timely development and market acceptance of new products, the impact of competitive products and pricing, the timely development of wafer fabrication process technologies, the effect of changing economic conditions, and such risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the company's SEC reports.