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Yet Another K6 Series From AMD 100

EricFenderson writes: "AMD has released the K6-2+ and the K6-III+ for use in notebooks. It's made with a .18 micron process, has on-die cache, and has new power-saving technology called PowerNow. Reports say it's only being sold to companies integrating notebooks, but Tom's Hardware says it would be great as a system upgrade, and AMD should also be selling to retailers. Petition?" If you're nursing along a Socket 7 system especially, this series should be intriguing. The long-awaited notebook chip is noteworthy for having 32 power levels to choose from - maybe those all-day notebooks will really appear.
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Yet Another K6 Series From AMD

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  • Since the Crusoe launch, the one of the most important things for notebooks is power consumption. While the Intel chips are hogs for power/waste heat, the Transmeta chips run cooler, albeit on a totally different archetecture.

    Where are these new AMD chips compared to the above lot? Between the 2? The same as Intel?

    From my POV, a laptop that can compile a piece of code in 5 minutes instead of 10 is of limited use if the battery dies after 30 seconds

  • I completely concur with respect to the FUD that intel loves to spout...

    I hope nobody forgot their ridiculous advertising scheme about "internet-power" chips. So idiotic a tale it's actually funny. (Microsoft FUD at least makes sense sometimes).

    Or the hopeless Pentium 1GHz... anyone ever seen one? I've never seen one. The Gigahertz pentium is a paper monster.

    Intel still has not clean up that disaster, and they now, to show their technical prowess, bring out a 1.13 GHz monster - in Slot1. I would be positively surprised if they can deliver this one, but even more so, I'ld be VERY surprised.

    What also frightens me is the adoptation of SSE above 3dnow! - this paints the athlon in a needlessly bad light.

    Then there is the absurd Rambus deal with intel. You should look at their "divine intervention" benchmarking data - anything less than divine intervention won't explain these results. Intel, for shady reasons, fully supports the Rambus humbug. It looks like silicon politics to me, and if I buy an intel system, I really can do without Rambus being rammed where the sun don't shine...

    Someday, perhaps intel will have a real rival, but at the moment, I hope they get slaughtered, for I really don't like their "business model". They seem to think the consumer is lobotomized.

    Until that attitude changes I am not buying any intel system.
  • whoops. my mistake. i've bought the K6 to K6-III so i should have known better. but anyway...

    and here's [] AMD's comparison on what's different between the K7 and PIII.

    anyway, i'm still talking out of my ass, but i have links that fart too.

  • by Omega996 ( 106762 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @03:37AM (#886517)
    Being poor and therefore cheap for most of my personal computing experience, I've pretty much used AMD chips when I had to buy CPUs.

    The K5 and K6 units have pretty good integer performance, but the floating point blows. The numbering scheme isn't too difficult if one has followed the chip's life, but if you haven't, it doesn't really make much sense.

    k5 = Socket 7 P54C pentium compatible - 16K instruction cache, 8k data cache

    K6 = Socket 7 P55C(mmx) - 32K instruction cache, 20K predecode cache, 32k data cache

    K6-2 = Super Socket 7 (mmx, 3dnow, 100MHz bus) - 32K instruction cache, 20k predecode cache, 32k data cache

    k6-III = Super Socket 7 (mmx, 3dnow, 100MHz bus) - 32K instruction cache, 32K data cache, 256K on-chip full-speed L2 cache

    Mobile K6-2+ = Super Socket 7 (mmx, 3dnow, 100MHz bus) - 32K instruction cache, 20K predecode cache, 32K data cache, 128K full-speed on-chip L2 cache

    Mobile K6-III = Super Socket 7 (mmx, 3dnow, 100MHz bus) - 32K instruction, 20K predecode, 32K data, 256K on-chip full-speed L2 cache

    The fastest the chip can go right now is 600MHz (6x100MHz).

    The K6-III and the Mobile K6 series can all use a motherboard-based L3 cache of up to 2MB.

    Hopefully this will shed some basic light on the K6 family.

  • I'm a user still clinging on to my socket 7 board, and I'll tell you why. My socket 7 board, with its WinChip 3d Processor does everything I want it to do at a speed I'm happy with. I'm no great games player, and I'm happy with just Quake and other older games, which incidentally are cheaper than newer variants. It plays MP3s perfectly well, something I'm happy with, and it exports directories across the network for other machines jes' fine.

    Why do I need to upgrade to some fancy new CPU? I don't. The one I've got here does perfectly well thankyou very much. And I think that this goes for hunders of other users too.

    Moderators: This post isn't redundant. If it was, I wouldn't be posting it.
  • The 550's pretty cool... I replaced a K6-2 400 with a 550 a while ago, and set the clock multiplier on my way-generic SuperSocket 7 board to 2 (which is 6 on the K6-2 family) ticks along all right at 600MHz. It's not great (I've got a friend with a 433 Celery that i think is as fast at games), but it makes a cheap and pretty good unix workstation, esp. with a good video card.
  • Look at the numbers. They do make sence.

    K6, k6-2, k6-3, k6-2+, k6-3+, k7 (Athlon)

    You're makeing up some vague comparison between Intel and AMD chip releases with (apparently) no knowledge of the history of the two processors.

    The k6 series of chips exists in the land of laptops and embeded devices, and also in the land of low-end/low-cost machines, the k7 duron line is meant to fill that space eventually... i think, and the k7 athlon line is the hard core main machine line, so in short no k6 anything will be competeing with it is intel will be releasing pas the p4.

    Intel is (perhaps) worse with their own nomenclature. There are 2 very different chips within the p3 line... the old p3's with the same cache and core as the p2's plus SSE, and the new p3's with the 256kb ondie cache... pluse all the newer chips com ein E (p3 900E)and EB versions for which bus speed they run at, etc.
  • I don't suppose you've ever heard of Super-Socket 7 motherboards, which have 100 MHz+ buses, and often things like AGP. They've been the only Socket 7 boards that you can get for a fairly long time, and the came out with the first K6-2's (I believe) when they started getting past 233 MHz.

    An example of one of these boards is the A-Open AX59-Pro [], which is one I've been using for quite some time. It's supposed to support processors up to 800 MHz (984 MHz, if you overclock the bus).

  • by slothbait ( 2922 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @05:48AM (#886522)
    Actually, AMD's naming scheme follows Intel's, but is a bit more consistent. A quick run-down of roughly comparable chips:

    AMD Intel

    K5 ~ Pentium (aka P5)
    K6 ~ Pentium Pro (aka P6)
    K6-2 ~ Pentium 2 (second rev of P6)
    K6-3 ~ Pentium 3 (third rev of P6)
    K7 ~
    K8 ~ Merced (first IA-64)

    So, with AMD, the naming scheme is Kx, with x being the generation number of the core, like x86 used to be. The numbers following the "K6" line represent revs within a generation. Intel started that trend and AMD followed it.

    Things are a bit complicated by the fact that Intel doesn't *have* a new core to compete with the Athlon. Intel hasn't made a new core in years. The IA-64 was supposed to be here by now, but it isn't. In the meantime, Intel has been trying to keep up by rev'ing it's Pentium Pro core, which dates back to ~94. While not inspiring, it's impressive that they've been able to squeeze out as much performance from the aging P6 core as they have.

    Another complication is the fact that the Pentium 2 and 3 date back to the Pentium Pro design, *not* the "classic" Pentium design. Further, the Pentium Pro was a completely different core than the Pentium -- not just a Pentium with added frills. This confuses quite a few people.

    The industry is complicated, so it takes some effort to follow. Naming is the least of worries when comparing processors.

    hope I shed some light,
  • If you are a new AMD stockholder, check out the AMD FAQ at the AMD discussion board on There is a split coming August 21 btw.

    DDR-SDRAM is now for sale by Micron at $157 for 128 megs DDR PC133 , and iWill has announced a DDR-SDRAM motherboard based on Ali's recently released DDR chipset. RDRAM is deader than a doornail for the next year unless it starts showing some significant speed advantages over its cheaper DDR-SDRAM sibling.

    The great thing about AMD is even if their microprocesser division did nothing but break even, their flash memory division is going to make enough money to make the company worth the stock price. You really can't go wrong unless the processor division starts to _lose_ money. Of course it will be highly profitable for 6 months, but it is hard to predict beyond that.

  • Yup.. And ofcourse the CPU's have EXACTLY the same instruction set, right ?

    No ?

    Oh well, but at least the TI chips have on-die cache memory, right ?

    No ?

    But then they surely must be able to run at clockspeeds in excess of 500 MHz ?

    No ?

    Then WHY THE HECK do You want to compare it to a laptop CPU ?

    My point being that those CPU's are SPECIFICALLY designed for running weird maths and most have an extremely limited instruction set (some are smaller than the CISC, some might be bigger, but not many), so You'd probably have a hard time making it understand x86 instructions.
  • I don't suppose you've ever heard of Super-Socket 7 motherboards

    I have, and mentioned it in passing. If you don't have a super board, these upgrade processors don't matter;

    1. socket 7 =! super socket 7 ~/= socket 7

  • Nope. Not at all. Please re-read my original note. Thanks.
  • I recently had to replace my 1 year old K6-2/300 2.2V in one of my notebooks with a K6-2/300 1.8V. The difference is impressive. Batterylife is increased by 100% and the machine basically stays cold making it now possible to put the notebook on my lap to work. Price of the new processor was $29. I imagine that a K6-2+ could offer even more.
  • I am an engineer, which is why I know you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Voltage and frequency are both directly related to power consumption. Power consumption scales linearly with frequency, and with the square of voltage. For a given design, P=kfV^2, where k is a constant dependent on the capacitance and resistance (and behavior, as there are architectural tricks you can play to save power). Cutting your frequency in half and halving your voltage will give you an 8x reduction in power.

    Take a basic circuit design course, then pretend to be an engineer, AC.
  • In my search, I found quite a few web sites but all were either too generic "use a voltage regulator [insert product name]"/"here's the concepts on how to make your own VRU" or were specific to one model of system board. Nothing with a list of models.

    A few sites did point out that changing the voltage to a non-standard setting might provide a specific system with the proper split. The caution there was that the extra power would require more cooling on the VRU itself or replacing parts of the VRU's heat sink...else it would burn out. That the heat sink would destabilize is amazing, since it takes quite a bit of heat to remove one of those with a soldering iron!

    If you happen to find that old URL, or remember some key word/phrase that was on it let me know. I've already searched on the obvious, and quite a few non-obvious!

  • Intel's comparable technology is pathetic. The only thing it lets you do is run the clock slower while mobile, and at full-speed while docked. Neat, but not really a power technology, no?

    Nope not very advanced. On AC power it's a PIII 600, on battery power it's a PIII 500. I can do the same thing with SoftFSB, except my screen gets all sparkly when I underclock the AGP bus to 44Mhz.

  • Well, the I had a K6-2 back at the grand speed of 266 MHz. I think the K6-3 came out somewhere near 400 HMz. The revisions with the '+' signs after them came out after the original Athlon. Yet I had heard a rumour about the K6-2+ before AMD anounced the Duron. It seems to me that this coverage is a little late.
  • Um dude, the K6+ line is what's going to bring the Super Socket 7 line to what it's deserved for a long time. The response times of the new chips will make it comparable to the Celeron chips.

    You also have to note that MegaHertz are a very very bad way to measure chip speeds. ALL Celerons are currently still on a 66MHz bus, which severely limites their capiabilities to be a high end chip. Celerons are also more expensive since all they are is a bus speed locked P3 with 3/4 of the Cache disabled (at least the newest ones are).

    With the K6-2+ and K6-3+ chips out now, which eliminate many of the previous problems associated with the K6-2 line. If you check out Tom's Hardware, you notice that they say a computer upgraded with these chips can now perform like a modern PC. With 128k of L2 cache integrated onto the chip at full speed, it takes the place of the celeron. And those manufacturers still smart enough to put cache on motherboards, can take the same advantage of the K6-3 Processors, and have up to 2MB of L3 Cache. It still has all the same MMX support, and 3DNow! Support, and takes up even less power at max than the traditional K6-2 and K6-3 chips took.

    Another thing that's great. This processor starts to move to what the Crusoe processor will be able to do, VARYING CLOCK SPEEDS DURING OPERATION. It's like overclocking a chip automatcially while you're working. And speaking of Overclocking. Guess what, the K6-2+ chips can overclock, another rarity of the line. I'd also suggest you take a look at the benchmarks Tom's Harware Provides [], I think you'll notice that Not only does the K6-2+ out perform the standard K6-2 at 500MHz, but it also scores 1 point higher than the CELERON 500! Though for game playing it still lags behind.

    So let's go over this: It's cheap, not much more than a normal K6-2 processor, it's faster, it's overclockable, it has much better performance. AMD has another new winner with this. BTW, how can this round of Mobile Computer might go to Intel. AMD controls 60% of the laptop chip market right now. Last I checked, that would only give intel at most 40, if not counting any competitors.

    Please note, Duron's will prolly not see the notebook market for a while, since they use massivce amounts of power compared to the P3.

  • Just don't ask me why they chose the letter 'K'.

    K stands for kriponite (you the stuff that would make superman weak)

    Thats legend at least...
  • Sound like the mainboards were fscked up, to me. Please describe your setups for each CPU.

    All generalizations are false.

  • A self reply for the url of the benchmarking data: oducts/products_benchmark_840.html []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not only AMD is at fault, however. Just look around on Slashdot for a bit. How many rabid AMD zealots do you see? Let me give you a hint: too many.

    Why do so many people use AMD? Honestly, I'm at a loss. It's not particularily cheap, and it's supposed "compatiblity" leaves much to be desired. And it's worth noting that Linus himself thinks that AMD really isn't worth supporting; just check the kernel comments for details.
  •'s motherboard list [] has a dual Athlon motherboard listed. It's named "Tyan Dolphin" and should be released Q4 '00.
    I don't know if this is based on information from Tyan though - I couldn't find any information on this on Tyans page.

  • Get off the CPU/FPU power trip. Not everyone needs a powerful desktop replacement. I'm a programmer and I use my laptop for programming, M$ Office type applications, and using the internet. I don't need a 1GHz CPU, 1gig of memory and 60 gigs of harddrive space in my laptop.

    Maybe this is also another step in laptop upgrades. My previous celeron laptop was like this. I could upgrade from a 333 to a 433 painlessly. Granted it's only 100mhz, but it is still an upgrade that put a little more life in my investment.

  • I have an all day notebook, its made of paper.

    (I also have an all day not books made from plastic, metal and glass, its called a PalmV and I can take notes on it all day long).


  • by Anonymous Coward
    > Until that attitude changes I am not buying any intel system.

    I started that 1 year ago (pissed by intel). I bought 3 Athlon since: two 550 and one 650. All three had problem (intermitent crashes). On have been solved by BIOS update, one cannot support more than 128Mb of RAM without crashing, and the last one cannot run more than 10 minutes.

    Mmm. I'm pretty pissed by AMD. I admit I can be my bad luck, but...


  • hopefully this will be good for my AMD stock
  • Maybe it was your motherboards, what did you use? Or it could be the standard problem, a crappy power supply.
  • Compiling is cache intensive and disk intensive.
    K6-3/K6-2+/K6-3+ have on die cache which will help the first problem and I doubt your gf's computer has the same calibur drive that yours has. Also you don't specifically say that they have the same amount of ram so that's probly an issue also.
    K6-3 benchmarked better than pII of same Mhz for office applications and I've run some comparisions for compiling code which turned out in favor of the k6-3. I've got a TBird in my main box, and am building a k6-3 linux box will spare parts soon. I am very happy with them. Cache is god. My k6-3 400 drops less frames playing a DVD than a k6-2 550 in the same system.
  • HELL YEah, got in on AMD yesterday myself, lost a buck fifty for the day, oh well I'm sure it will kick up. Yeah might as well have the launch of the sledgehammer with a new AMD chipset and DDRSDRAM, there is probably more of those in circulation than the 1.13Ghz P3. And whats up with the 1.13, couldnt they have squeezed another .02Ghzs make it a nice round 1.15 .
  • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @04:58AM (#886545) Homepage Journal
    Where are these new AMD chips compared to the above lot? Between the 2? The same as Intel?

    The Crosue was listed as somewhere between 1W and 1.5W (for the faster Crosue part, the slower one ws .5W to 1W?). Tom's article put the K6-2+ at 3W-3W I think. I don't remember what the Moble P-III is rated at, it might be 25W to 45W, but I'm toataly not sure.

    From my POV, a laptop that can compile a piece of code in 5 minutes instead of 10 is of limited use if the battery dies after 30 seconds

    If you are compiing you are probbably spining the disk drive. If you are spinning the disk drive, that's probbably sucking more power then the Crosue or K6-2+, and maybe generating more heat too. Remember there is a lot of stuff in a laptop that isn't the CPU sucking power. I think the CPU is #1 in making waste heat (which requires a fan, which uses more power and makes noise), but it ain't the big picture in power draw. So the K6-2+ drawing twice the power of the Crosue isn't a huge deal for battery life. After all the Crosue drawing 10 to 20 times less power then the Intel part "only" extends the battery life from ~4 hours on a "normal" battery to "all day" (and I have a 500Mhz/650Mhz Intel laptop that will run all day on an extended battery, and the whole thing is porb only 5 pounds vs. the 3.75 that it is with the normal batt).

  • by Upsilon ( 21920 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @06:34AM (#886546)
    Oh come on now! AMD's chip numbering makes far more sense then Intel's. When Intel changes their number, who knows what it might mean? When AMD does it, it is perfectly clear.

    The pentium was Intel's fith generation chip. It came after the 486 and is effectively a 586, but they decided to give it a real name for marketing reasons (and the fact that you can't trademark a number). But then they came out with the PentiumII, which is their sixth generation product. It should really have been called the Hexium, but I guess that name isn't very good from a marketing perspective ;-) . To add to the inconsistency, the PIII is still based on the same sixth generation core as the PII, with just a few minor revisions. Then they came out with the Coppermine (that was its codename), which was a bigger revision of the PII core than took place with the PIII, but it didn't even get a new name! It's called a PIII, just like the earlier PIIIs even though there's a significant difference. Now we have the PIV coming up, and that's a seventh generation design. So does increasing the number after "pentium" indicate a revision of a core or a new core? The answer: it depends on Intel's mood at the moment.

    With AMD it's clear as day. The K5 is their fith generation chip. The K6 is their sixth generation chip. The K6-2 is a revision of the K6 core, and the K6-3 is another revision. These revisions roughly corespond to what Intel did with the PIII and Coppermine, respectively. The Athlon is AMD's seventh generation chip, and it was codenamed the K7, but they decided to give it a name (again, for marketing). The K6-2+ is a revision of the K6-2. K6-3 was taken, and calling it a K6-4 would be misleading because it really fits in between the K6-2 and K6-3. There's also the K6-3+ which does the same thing to the K6-3 as the K6-2+ did to the K6-2.

  • YEah, I wanted to buy maybe it would go up some more before the split. Either way yeah, I'm no daytrader so I will hang on for a while. I think the fall will be looking good for AMD, with the DDR coming out, I wont to get my hands on some micron later when I get more money.
  • After the 386 there was the 486. After the 486, Intel changed their naming scheme ( I remember hearing something about not being able to trademark numbers or something) to PENTium. To illustrate the similarity between the chips AMD released the K5. PENT=5...

    Pentium 2, or in other words ((Pentium 1) + 1), if the K5 is the same as the (Pentium 1) then the ((K5)+1) would be the K6. The Pentium III or the ((Pentium 1) + 2), would be the same as the (K5) + 2) or the K7.

    Although they moved up to the K7, they continued production of K6 based chips, K6-2, and K6-3 are newer revisions of the K6 core. Just don't ask me why they chose the letter 'K'.

    I don't understand your confusion.

  • by RayChuang ( 10181 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @06:46AM (#886549)
    Unfortunately, another problem that plagues the K6 series of CPU is that most versions of the CPU has the L2 cache on the motherboard, which means sluggish memory access performance depending on application.

    Because the L2 cache on the Celeron runs at full CPU speed and is on the CPU die itself, the result is much improved memory performance. Now you know why AMD built the Duron with its on-die 64 KB L2 memory cache in addition to the 128 KB L1 memory cache.
  • by www ( 58894 )
    But all of this is largely irrelevant. AMD has insured that it will never be a major player in the future by refusing to ship SMP-ready hardware. The future is in massive parallelism, and that's kind of hard to achieve when your chips are incapable of running together.

    If you want to take advantage of next-generation operating systems like Linux or Win2k, do you really want a chip that won't allow you to upgrade to more than one processor? That's what I call locking in your customers, in the worst way possible.

    Actually AMD is working on an SMP chipset (I think it is called the 770). There SMP design is far superior to Intel's, as the processors do not share the same bus. Instead, the AMD design uses a "switch" that provides connections for CPUs, Memory, etc.

  • "I am a chicken fucker."
  • It seems that all laptop chips are based on a previous design that consumes a lot of power and produces heat like mad. Will this chip break that "rule" ?
  • The reason is simple. If you already have a super-7 board, this is the cheapest upgrade available. FPU performance is weak, but 600Mhz +3D-NOW! isn't exactly shabby. It's "good enough". And of course, the performance on business apps and all those other things most people do on their computer 90-100% of the time will really fly.
  • How long should we wait until we place bets on Intel matching this?
  • Considering that 90% of what people do on a computer is writeing letters, browsing the web, doing their e-mail & doing their tax return, then its integer that's need. Guess what, you know what's the x86 integer king its the Cyrix 686 core & in its time the Cyrix 686L PR200+ was the integer god CPU for office CPUs, plus it had the best memory bandth of 'em all, with its 75mhz FSB.
  • by Fross ( 83754 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @01:18AM (#886556)
    Intel is out of this market - when was the last time they made a socket 7 processor? Pentium I. Their only viable processor for laptops is the Celeron, due to the PII/PIII large power consumption (even the low power models)

    the battle for laptop/notebook processors is now between AMD, with its range of low-power processors, and Transmeta, with the Crusoe.

  • The C64 WAS the pinnacle of computing. Also, I think the last innovation intel had was the celeron, and that was a long time ago. I'm not sure, but I think P4s are P3s with higher clock speeds, but that doesn't sound right, so feel free to yell at me for lying.
  • do you really need PCI for a 56k modem, I think not

    No, certainly it would be better to use different bus interfaces for each device, so that none of them have more bandwidth available to them than they can need. You still need a faster modem, though to keep your ISA slot busy (idle bandwidth makes devil's work!).
  • If you are spinning the disk drive, that's probbably sucking more power then the Crosue or K6-2+, and maybe generating more heat too.

    I don't know what you remember about your conservation of energy, but any energy that goes into your computer comes out as heat. (Exceptions: the monitor & speakers make heat somewhere other than inside the computer, though not as much as they themselves have to disipate.)

  • AMD should find new technologies for notebook CPUs. I have a K6-2 at home, and I'm not very amused about its capabilities. Even if they have 500 or 550 MHz or whatever, they won't have more power than a 350 or 400 MHz mobile PIII.
    This round of CPUs for mobile computers goes to Intel, maybe AMD can do it in the next round, though they have more competitors.
  • Not proven? I still love how people still eat the Intel 'AMD is unproven and reliable FUD'. It's sad, they see though Microsoft's FUD to Linux and co, but Intel to AMD....

    Prove, with links, NOW, that Intel's processors are more reliable and proven compared to AMD's. No, I don't care about overclockability, or the speed of the chip. I care about them being unstable and reliable.

    Until you can prove otherwise, you are talking FUD. I hope you like advertising for Intel.
  • I don't know what you remember about your conservation of energy, but any energy that goes into your computer comes out as heat. (Exceptions: the monitor & speakers make heat somewhere other than inside the computer, though not as much as they themselves have to disipate.)

    Clearly I don't remember enough. But I was actually intending to talk about how the CPU's waste heat is in a very small area (even the "hot" desktop CPUs don't disapate as much heat as the lightbulbs in my room, but I don't need cooling fans for my bulbs because they have more surface area...). The drive generates it's heat over a large enough area that it may need no fan. And as you said the LCD (or really it's backlight) make a lot of heat, but not anywhere that the laptop has to worry about it.

  • My laptop uses an AMD K6-2 400MHz CPU, I've never been impressed with its performance, and it seems to run very hot as well. Battery life is poor, so any improvement is welcome. Wish I'd gone for a Celeron instead now...
  • even the "hot" desktop CPUs don't disapate as much heat as the lightbulbs in my room, but I don't need cooling fans for my bulbs because they have more surface area...).

    Actually recent CPUs have dissipated 60-90 Watts of power, more than a mid-sized conventional light bulb. The reason you cool a processor and not a lightbulb is that the lightbulb has a much safer effective operating temperature (if it doesn't get hot, it doesn't even work!) than a small wafer of silicon with 20+ million tiny little transistors (which should probably not go much above 60 degrees celcius).

    And yeah, faster drives usually do need some kind of cooling to stay within their recommended operating temperature, but nobody would put such drives in a laptop.

    But I DO agree with your original point, that the CPU is not necessarily the biggest drain of power on today's laptops, and even if it took NO power, the laptop wouldn't be usable for more than about a day on a single battery.
  • Transmeta's [] Crusoe []

    'nuff said

  • Funny, 10 years ago a processor which burnt 20W was an absurd idea. 10W chips powered desktops and workstations. Now we're considering putting them in _laptops_?
    Has battery technology advanced that far?
    I find this all rather wierd considering TI's embedded DSP chips (perfectly usable as ordinary CPUs now, and you get the graphics for free too...), and ARMs CPUs which drain less than 1W.
  • by bladel ( 104002 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @02:39AM (#886567)

    I work for an OEM, and one of the internal arguments against AMD is that they have no equivalent to Intel's Embedded Systems Group. Under this program, Intel designates certain products (CPUs, Chipsets, etc.) to be supported for at least five years.

    Many folks designing embedded systems have platform-sensitive applications, and will not design products around platforms whose product lifespans are measured in months.

    The extension of the K6 line brings its total life to nearly 3 years (and counting). This effectively removes the primary argument against AMD for embedded system development.


  • Dude, If you don't like it, go somewhere else. Better yet, post a link to it in your .sig


  • I remember reading about the K6-2+ and the K6-III+ on The Register several months ago and yet it only just appears on Slashdot now!

    Even in the pics on Toms Hardware the chips are marked "(c) 1999 AMD". It was my impression that K6-2+ chips had been sold in notebooks for several months now?

    Don't get me wrong, I think the K6-x series of chips are great, low-cost, solutions (Hell, I run two at home!). I suppose it does just go to show that Socket 7 isn't dead after all.

    I wonder how much Intel regret pulling out of Socket 7 with the Pentium 233MMX three years ago?

    It's weird - at 233Mhz Intel declared Socket 7 a dead-dog and moved on to the abhorrent Slot 1 platform, yet AMD, Cyrix, IBM, IDT and Rise all managed to come up with processors perfectly (or imperfectly, in the cases of Rise, IDT and a lesser extent Cyrix/IBM) suited to the low-cost budget PC market which are still holding their ground today against Intel's Socket 370 line up.

  • Oh really? I've never seen a compiler go out and karma whore on slashdot because of an error...
  • Well... the announcements are many, many moons old, but actual notebooks with the + chips are still fairly new, and not very common.

    Being a broke owner of an old K6-2, I am waaayyyy interested in sticking a 550 K6-2+ in my desktop, which both Aces Hardware [] and Tom's Hardware [] say is not only possible, but also much better than a regular K6-2 550, or K6-3 400 (the highest clocked, realistically priced, Super7 chips out there).

    Problem is, you can't get these chips hardly anywhere without getting a notebook around it... :P
  • by DP ( 11614 )
    The P!!! and it's preceding brethren are still all PPro-core (with improvements, obviously). Both the K6 and the PPro core are old, and they suck. The K6 sucks because it's FPU is crappy, and it's very data hungry (which is why with on die L2, it beats similar speed PIIs, and comes close to P!!!s), and the PPro mostly because it's old, and it doesn't scale well to high clock speeds without major voltage increases and die shrinks.

  • Okay, then where did the original K6 fit into this, if the K6-2 is the equivalent of the Pentium MMX? Is it the regular Pentium?
  • A quick search on Pricewatch []:

    AMD K6-2 550: $76
    AMD K6-2 533: $66
    AMD K6-2 450: $57

    Intel Celeron 566: $98
    Intel Celeron 533 PPGA: $92
    Intel Celeron 500 PPGA: $91
    Intel Celeron 466 PPGA: $82
    Intel Celeron 433 PPGA: $75

    And actually, the prices of the K6-2 chips have gone up in the past 3 monthes (I think because they stopped making them). I got a K6-2 500 in May for $42 +S&H.

    But my point is to get equal price to a K6-2 550, you need to drop down to a Celeron 433. Now for the overclocked, that's probably not a big deal. Also for the power hungry, K6-2 is a joke. But if you're looking to make a very cheap system, K6-2 is probably your best choice. Makes a great linux/FreeBSD server.
  • It does have new technologies for notebooks -- PowerNow. The idea is to switch to one of 32 different frequency (and voltage, i think) points based on what you are doing (CPU usage), so as to give you the best performance when you need it and to conserve power when you don't. Most OEM's seem to only want to use 4 of those levels, which seems reasonable.

    Intel's comparable technology is pathetic. The only thing it lets you do is run the clock slower while mobile, and at full-speed while docked. Neat, but not really a power technology, no?

    Also, outside of games, the K6-III compares very favorably with the mobile PIII clk:clk. With games, well, that bad FPU will stunt your framerate. And eat up your battery faster. Stop playing games on your laptop! ^_^
  • a P2 300 in my Dell Inspiron, will I be able to plop in one o' these chips??
  • but for some reason they stopped making them for PC'c?

    I wonder why.
  • Did you bother to check the specs of the chip? In fact, Ace's hardware ( has already known about this for at least 6 months ans there has been a comparison between the Celeron, K6-2, K6-3 and K6-2+. Let's not forget that although the K6-2+ is supposed to be a mobile CPU, it can also be great for people who ALREADY have SS7 systems and would like to hang on to their systems for a while longer. By no means would I recommend this to someone who is looking for a new system but it is a quick and cheap upgrade (less than $100). For the record, this CPU is .18, and is not actually a K6-2 but a K6-3 (meaning it has on-chip cache - 128k). The K6-3+ is supposed to have 256k cache on-chip.
  • That's true, and I missed that part. However, I guess anyone who would be planning on upgrading from a standard Socket 7 would either have done it long ago (those are 3+ years old) or can afford the hundred bucks for a new motherboard, too. It's still cheaper than making the jump to PII/III or Athlon.
  • Going to drop it into my FIC PA-2007 Motherboard. Will have to underclock it to 6*75=450Mhz though. Check out "Mobile K6" on pricewatch to see where you can get them...
  • All I can say is, it works fine for me (on the AOpen board I mentioned). It can only do 2x AGP, and the Riva TNT that I have in it works great. Of course, I'm not using EDO DRAM or anything, there's SDRAM in it.

    I bought mine (K6-2/300) originally instead of upgrading to a PII, and it's worked great for me. I have three computers, and only one Intel processor (one's a P5/233, other's a AMD 486DX4/120) and I've had great experiences with AMD's processors and have lost any loyalty I might have had for Intel...

  • but for some reason they stopped making them for PC'c?

    Yields on the K6-III were never particularly high, mainly because the L2 cache increased the die size considerably (IIRC). This also tended to keep the price up a bit.

    It didn't stop me from snagging a 450-MHz K6-III shortly before the end, though...ended up paying a little under $200 for it back in February, but it is letting me squeeze some more life out of a VA-503+ that originally held a 300-MHz K6-2 (that, and 256 megs of PC133 SDRAM purchased more recently).

    (The 650-MHz Duron I recently built into a customer's system, though, was only $110. Definitely more bang for the buck, and it'd be the way to upgrade today. AMD didn't have these back in February, though.)

    / v \
    (IIGS( Scott Alfter (remove Voyager's hull # to send mail)

  • by barleyguy ( 64202 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @07:12AM (#886583)
    The K6-2+ series (which this article is about) have 128K of full speed L2 cache on the chip. They also support L3 cache on the motherboard, so their cache performance is excellent.

    Also, since the K6-2+ is manufactured with a .18 micron process, almost 100% of these chips will overclock to 600 Mhz. And all you have to do is set a couple of jumpers on the motherboard. For cheap overclocking, these chips are great.

    The only problem I see is availability. I've only ever seen two of these chips, and I see a lot of AMD processors. If you have a Socket 7 motherboard, and you see one of these chips, I'd highly recommend getting one.
  • The k6-2+ (500, 533, 550) was introduced in June. Tom's Hardware published their test in mid July. These new chips have several voltage/speed settings so you can choose the preformance/power consumption tradeoff that makes sense to you. One of the power settings is adaptable.

    At low power they only use 3 Watts (Celron 500's use 28 Watts). At full speed they use 16 Watts and are roughly the same speed as a similarly clocked Celeron.

    These new chips have the same amount of L2 Cache as a Celeron and are therefore faster than the old K6-2's.

    Old Socket 7 chips use less board real estate than newer chip formats (the mother boards can be smaller and cheaper)

    I'd love to have one of these for an old super7 system - $100 to make it relatively up to date.

  • From an architecture standpoint, you are pretty much correct. K6-III compares favorably with P-III clock-for-clock in everything except FPU. Ditto for the K6-2 and P-II. Both the K6-2 and K6-III use the super-7 socket, which is pin-compatable with the standard socket 7 but running on a 100MHz bus and having a wider range of voltages, and some of the multiplier settings redefined.

    The K6 competed with the P55 series Pentium chips but (IIRC) lack MMX/3Dnow support and SMP capability. This was a socket 7 chip.

    The K5 replaced the P54 series chips (Pre-MMX, Single voltage Pentium 75-166) and was a socket 5 chip. This was the last AMD chip to be marketed using the old confusing "PR" rating system.

    AMD does not have a monopoly on confusing chip names. There are actually at least three distinct Intel chips that bore the name "Pentium" (this does even consider the "mobile pentium" line):

    • The original 5v Socket 4 Pentiums (60-66MHz) running on a 60 or 66 MHz bus with no multiplier. Many of these bore the infamous FPU division bug.
    • The P54 series 3.3v Socket 5 Pentium (75-133MHz). These ran on a 60 or 66 MHz bus with either a 1.5 or 2.0 multiplier. IIRC, this was the first SMP capable pentium.
    • The P55 series dual (VRE) voltage Socket 7 Pentium (166-233MHz). This is the chip most people think of when you say Pentium. IIRC the early steppings were available in both MMX and non-MMX versions -- If memory serves, the two flavors had the same core, similar to the 486SX/DX situation.

    The AMD K6 series of chips generally outperform their Intel counterparts at the same clock speed in all aspects except floating point. Considering that an AMD chip typically cost about the same as an Intel chip two steps slower (or even a bit less), the small loss in FPU performance is not significant. Looking at one current ad, I see that a K6-2/550 is going for $99, and a Celeron 533 is $129. The K6-2 performs better for 30% less.

    The situation is even more in AMD's favor when you look at the Athalon. The Athalon fixed the K6's worst flaw - poor FPU performance. Clock for clock, Athalon beats (or at least matches) P-III across the board. Considering that that the current price for a PIII-600 is $315 and an Athalon 600 is $175, there is no comparison. An Athalon 700 is going $239, the same price as a PIII-500.
    "The axiom 'An honest man has nothing to fear from the police'

  • How? I'd like to know cuz I'm cool too and I'll take out /.!

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @01:39AM (#886587) Journal
    Which version of chip are we meant to take this as? Intel have sensibly numbered pentiums 1,2,3,4,... but AMD seem to insist on going for 5, 6, 7, 6-2, 6-3,....

    So is a K6 meant to be equivalent to a Pentium VI, or is a K6-III meant to be equivalent to a Pentium III? How are we meant to make sensible comparisons with such confusing numbers?
  • Some say Socket 7 is an old technology yes this is true, but does that make bad no.
    Just because AMD plays to people who like to keep their good old socket 7 motherboards
    does make them stupid. They know alot of people do not like change and/or
    Do not like the big boys (Intel) so this is the crowd they are playing to.
    I call that marketing.
  • I would like to see the first laptop with
    smp enabeled. Who cares about battery lifetime...
    I want a dual Athlon notebook!
    that would be fun;)
  • lets see..

    • the K7 is the Pentium III
    • the K6-III is the pentium II
    • the K6-2 is the Pentium with MMX
    • the K5 is the pentium

    i think...

    it's been awhile since i've had to think about this. if only i can find my last core dump. the K7s are comparable or better than the Pentium III. that's all you have to know. at least, that's all the marketing i'm giving.

  • It's rather simplistic to place a chip on a linear scale somewhere.
    The processing power is the K6 family is decent (certainly intel comparable) in integer performance, and the FPU is less good, though the K6-3 tries to patch that up with the improved 3dNOW (feel free to improve my capitalization). Sort of reminds me of P2 vs. P3 that... add SSE, and we have an internet enabled chip (riiiight....).
    Anyhow, the core of the K6-2 / K6-3 (it would surprise me if the K6-3 really got far) is never going to be as good as the athlon or the P3/P2 for games and as I don't work for AMD or have any inside information I don't know if they can scale highly with this architecture, though I don't think so.

    The point is, it's a low power chip. Take a look at the power rating bandied about, and you'll see that the Athlon is very power-hungry, and the P3 is no lightweight either.

    This chip may be neat for upgraders, but its clearly a low-end (cpu-wise) solution, it's almost certainly never going to compete with P4.

  • I love AMD chips. but lets face it - smp is cool and there are no dual Athlon/Duron etc motherboards.

    Does anyone know if there are any planned?
  • ...another one of you elite Slashdot readers.

    I didn't claim to be an elite slashdot reader.

  • My take is that the 6 in K6-x is the generation number. It's 6th generation chip, just as Pentium2 and Pentium!!! (that sure is an ugly way of spelling it). 2 or 3 is the iteration number. It really makes (some) sense that way. K6-2+ : Improved version of second iteration of our 6th generation chip.
    Also remember that at the moment K6-2 came out Intel had at least Pentium Pro, Pentium MMX and Pentium 2 (not counting Celerons and Xeons).
  • by RayChuang ( 10181 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2000 @03:16AM (#886595)
    I think the issue right now is that the K6 series of CPU's is already obselete even compared against the Celeron.

    The reason is simple: weak FPU performance. I wouldn't recommend the K6 series if you're doing any programs that requires lots of CPU and FPU processing power, programs such as CAD/CAM and image-processing software.

    Besides, with the price of Celeron CPU's being so cheap and the arrival of the AMD Duron (which has none of the slow FPU problems that plague the K6 series), you'd be better off with today's CPU's anyway.
  • I've been running a K6-2/266 for a LONG time now. I do everything from graphic editing to programming, dual booting under Linux and Win95. I have never EVER had a problem that was related to the K6, except for when I was overclocking it to didn't like that, and would get Signal 11 errors compiling things. But once I turned it back down to what it was supposed to be, it's been working fine for years.

    And at the time, it was about $50 cheaper than buying Intel back then. Never been sorry I bought it. :)
  • ... and I want a Beowulf cluster of these.

  • 5 years only! For me one month or 5 years is exactly the *same*. I work in an astronomical research institute where we have special purpose instruments which were built in the early 80s and still are going to be used for another 10 or 15 years. No I'm not kidding, these are full racks of delicate low noise analog electronics which could not be built much better with the latest and greatest components. Filters in this frequency range are still best as discrete LC circuits, monolithic microwave amplifiers often need more power than discrete transistors etc (this is changing now, but many low power models are tuned to mobile phones, wireless networking, etc... and don't provide the wide operating frequency range that we need).

    However the killer are the computer interfaces, we still use CAMAC systems with TMS9900 processors. More recent systems use VME with 68k (you can still buy most of the Motorola 68000 line BTW) or, more recently, PowerPC (603e or 750, the 603e is 7 or so years old and still manufactured, the 740/750 also seems to have a fairly long life ahead). We are considering Compact PCI for the next generation, but redesigning and rebuilding the system interface of existing instruments every few years is not an option (very small series).

    Bottom line, I need guaranteed availability for 15-20 years. Anything less is simply not suitable for the lifespan of our instruments. We can afford a few spares, but we already have had lightning striking our systems and all this whole mess of old and not so old analog electronics withstood it much better than the computer systems and interfaces, forcing us to buy a few new spares. Besides we can easily fix our in house designed electronics and old CAMAC and VME boards based
    on common TTL chips but it is impossible on modern boards with BGA packages and other high density devices (trying to buy just a few would already be an ordeal).

    Of course the military have the same problems, but they have so much more money and usually can enforce some long term availability in the contracts. I can't since our largest project is $0.5M in investment and the largest contractor will never get more than $50K or so. In one word
    what we build looks more like something designed by a (admittedly very knowledgeable) hobbyist
    then by professional electronicians, but that's just because the gap between hobbyist and mass production technology has been growing incredibly in the last few years.

    People working on space projects have similar
    design problems but they generally have much more
    money since it is sexier and nobody asks them
    to improve or repair a system once it has been launched !
  • This is not the intent... it is for low cost notebooks. And possibly to extend my life of my AMD K6-2 380MHz to 550MHz.
  • The reason to bother is not needing to do a forklift upgrade... I still run on a K6/2, and until these chips come out to upgraders[which i pray they do] if I want more proc. juice, I'll have to buy a new mobo with the CPU, and maybe new RAM... also, I still run some older ISA cards[do you really need PCI for a 56k modem, I think not] and many newer modos have a severe lack of ISA slots [i.e. none]. It'd be nice if I could get up to 600 mHz without having to buy half a new system.

  • Trading at only 10x expected earnings of $6 or $7 this year AMD is a huge bargain basement buy. Just its flash memory business alone, growing at 70 to 100% a year, is worth its stock price.

    I don't like these K6 chips. As a stockholder we don't make hardly any money from selling them... They will be only 5 to 10% of production by 1Q2001. Mobile Athlons are coming.

    Maybe we should paper launch them today. Let's announce a 1.5 ghz mobile Athlon, shipping in "limited" quantities (say 9 or 10) today!

  • (For the humor impaired)
  • Woohoo! I know what I'm getting for Christmas!

    Does anyone have a link to information about the AMD 770 chipset (The long-awaited SMP-enabled chipset for Athalon)?

    "The axiom 'An honest man has nothing to fear from the police'

  • Actually there's even a webpage that lists what old soxket 7 boards support the lated AMD K6 cores (K6-2CTX, K6-III, K6-2+ & K6-III+)m via undocumenred settings &/or bios updates. I've forgotten the URL though.
  • Check out
  • I don't know about the PIV, but since the Pentium Pro changes to Intels x86 offerings have not been truly significant, simply a few tweaks to allow insanely high clock speeeds. That is impressive in its own way, that they can get so much mileage out of such an old design, but at some point it will give out. AMD has been more innovative than Intel, especially with 3D-Now. With 3D-Now support, AMD's K6-2 and 3 can defeat otherwise equal Pentium II systems, despite the weak FPU. With SSE the Pentium III takes the 3D benchmark from them AMD however, but the K6-3(first to offer L3 cache to my knowledge and allow 5 simulateous read/write ops to it) will beat a faster PIII in business software. Basically, Intel builds technology, AMD builds chips for the real world. Both approaches have their merits, and while Intel is dominant, their dominance is not unchallenged, which can only be good for the consumer.
  • I purchased a new K6-III 400 CPU a while ago for $70 & its running stabily at 475mhz (it will run stabily at 500mhz if I disable the motherboards L3 cache). The fact is when buy a CPU, one is always ripping oneself off if they purchase the top speed grade for any CPU.
  • Its rare ever to see AMD retail products, even on the retail market - look at slotA T'birds are OEM only, but they are more avaliable than the socket version. You'll have no problem buying a OEM K6-2+ or K60III+ CPU from heaps of sites on the web if the just wait a couple of months.
  • Not that it matters, at all, but I have a VA-503+ w/a K6-III 400 and a TNT2. Aside from some problems with 2x AGP (switching down to 1X fixed the problem and I never noticed the difference anyway), I have had no problems with it and am still using it a year later. I would say that I am very happy with it, given the price (cheap compared to what was available from Intel at the time).

    My rules are:

    Never spend more than $150 on a processor.
    Never spend more than $100 on a motherboard.
    Never spend more than $200 on a hard drive.
    Never spend more than $150 on a video card.
    Never spend more than $30 on a sound card.
    Never spend more than $175 on memory.
    Splurge on the monitor.

    I follow these rules every year and a half or so when upgrading, and have never been disappointed.
    (although, I only had to splurge on a monitor once, which was the Iiyama Vision Master Pro 17 that I bought for $800 in 1996, and am still using today)
  • Back to the days of the K6 series. Let's get ready for a rush of nostalgia as we experience infamous AMD compatbility problems again.

    We all know the K6 was reverse-engineered from Intel's P5 - but what now? Has AMD reverse-engineered their own design?


  • according to the graphs from tom's hardware, for applications the equivalent speed chips are very smiliar. for games, you have to over clock it 100Mhz more for the K6 to catch up with the celeron. yuck.

    i wish there was a chart for the K6-III+. these are the chips that will be the celeron notebook killers. well, i guess there's the durons.

    of course, i'd only get one if it came in a vaio or affordable thinkpad.

  • Which version of chip are we meant to take this as? Intel have sensibly numbered pentiums 1,2,3,4,... but AMD seem to insist on going for 5, 6, 7, 6-2, 6-3,....

    So is a K6 meant to be equivalent to a Pentium VI, or is a K6-III meant to be equivalent to a Pentium III? How are we meant to make sensible comparisons with such confusing numbers?

    JFYI you can never compare those model names by looking at the numbers like you did...

    The reason why AMD has K6-2 and K6-3 is that those CPUs are closer to the original K6 design (but of course improved) than to the Athlon (K7)...
    I don't know if the order you of when the AMD CPUs were released was correct (I would have thought that at least K6-2 would have been before K7, but then I'm no AMD-release-timeline-expert)

  • I looked into this reciently. Bottom line: Most socket 7 systems can handle up-to a K6-2 @ 233. Exactly the kind of chip that's no longer being sold. For anything faster, you're out of luck unless you do some fairly risky or costly modifications. To be fair, this isn't useless for all socket 7 systems, but a damn fair number of them. It's not the multiplier(1), or the 66mhz PCI system bus(2), it's the split voltage regulator.

    Most of these old systems either don't have split voltage support at all, or don't have it for the K6-2+'s 2v/3.1v. Forget about the lower voltages. The K6-2 (non + ) is only marginally more likely to work.

    To solve this, you'll need a voltage adapter or you'll need to do some fancy solder work. If you decide to OC it at an invalid voltage, thinking you'll just add more cooling, well, to each his own. I wouldn't bother -- but then I'm not you!

    Corrections appreciated...especially ones that show it's not either a waste of time or money to do this type of upgrade. Break even would be good.

    1. 1. There are sweet spots. K6-2 cpus with a CTX core at 400mhz will switch to a 6x multiplier...slow enough to interface with a regualr socket 7 system bus.

      2. 80mhz~ overclocked if you're lucky and your cards can handle it. Forget 100mhz for all but 'super 7' boards, and even those aren't a given.

System restarting, wait...