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x86 news

Intel is having a bad month. C't now reports over 500 re-labeled Pentium II chips have been found, including in channels Intel claimed secure. More worrying is that some remarked chips may be undetectable until the overclocked chip is damaged. More info is available here.. In particular the class action suit in Taiwan is worth reading. The announcement that Merced will be late caused Technology stocks to tumble yesterday. And today, news.com reports that the top FTC litigator is recommending that Intel be sued for alleged antitrust violations.

(Read more below)

Meanwhile, the competition is heating up. Newcomer Rise has demonstrated its new mP6 x86 processor, designed (like Centaur's) for the notebook market.

Interestingly, Centaur is abandonning its unipipe solution for its second generation Winchips, using 2 6-stage pipelines at up to 300Mhz. A third 12-stage pipe line architecture is planned, which will running at frequencies between 400 and 600Mhz, should improve performance by 80%. Centaur is also jumping onto the integration bandwagon, proposing its Winchip 2+NB which reduces board area (and costs) by combining the C6 core and a north-bridge on the same die.

AMD has released its K6-2, at a higher price, and with little OEM interest. However this chip is a screamer, profiting from being the first to use the new 100Mhz front side bus, and the new 3DNow! instructions. Centaur, Cyrix, and IBM also plan to deliver these features in their upcoming processors.

Finally, IBM has released a PR333 version of the Cyrix-designed 6x86 MX, which apparently partially gains its speed from a new type of chip-package. This comes as IBM revealed that it expects its Slot1 solution to be developed by Cyrix.

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In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle