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K7 Renamed "Athlon" 134

rippy writes "It seems like AMD is following in Intel's footsteps and giving a goofy name to their processors. Insted of K7, the name is now changed to "Athlon". I saw it on Ars. " I'm still waiting for chips to have model years just like Operating Systems (cough)
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K7 Renamed "Athlon"

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  • I thought it was precisely because you can't trademark a number.
  • I had to laugh. I was thinking the same thing, ya beat me to it. "That's right! I'm blind stinking sober..."
  • That really doesn't matter. Wordmarks are generally only enforcable within the industry they're registered for. A judgement is usually only renderd against a company when there is a reasonable chance that the two products could be confused.

    The article you quoted stated that the French company has the trademark for a sports drink. I seriously doubt someone's going to mistake a $500 processor for a $2 sports drink.
  • by Raphael ( 18701 ) on Tuesday June 22, 1999 @08:50AM (#1838690) Homepage Journal

    Yes, this is probably a trademark issue.

    Anything that is "too obvious" cannot be registered as a trademark. This includes:

    • A number (386, 486).
    • A single letter followed by a number, especially if it is part of some predictable series (i486, i586, K6, K7).
    • A common word or a combination of words that is too descriptive or that is already in common use in the area in which the trademark should be registered (for example, you could not register "fast computer" in the computer business, although you might be allowed to get that trademark for a door or a toilet seat).

    So if no other company has registered "Athlon" (in the computer business), then AMD can be sure that nobody else will sell a processor called K7.

    They will also have more control over the name. For example, if someone claims to have a device which is "Athlon-certified", AMD will have something to say about it (i.e. they could sue the guy if that claim is false). But if it was only "K7-certified", it would have been easy for anyone to say that they were refering to some other obscure chip that just happens to be also called K7 and they could get away with it.

    So from a trademark point of view, having the K7 renamed "Athlon" makes a lot of sense. Whether or not the name "Athlon" is good and will help selling the chip is another story...

  • According to The Register [theregister.co.uk] In Belgium and possibly France, K7 is the 'rating?' for Male Homoerotic videos. That could possibly be why they don't want to use K7 for the name of their processor.
  • >>>Somehow, a different word comes to mind.

    It means the same thing, but Love Child is PC
  • Howzabout we start really naming them...

    "The Biff can run at 600MHz and do X calculations perseconds, clearly outpacing the Jezabel made by..."

    Come on. Give us Revisions, not cutesy names. It's getting harder to tell chip from chip by name alone!
  • So, AMD has produced decent product in the past, but I don't think that they've ever spent a significant amount of money on marketing or PR. Kudos to them for making the decision to bring their products away from techie-dom and into the mainstream.

    For geeks, names like "K7" and "Windows v3.4.2" are great. We want to know where it fits into the product line and whether it's new or old. However, for mainstream folk, they want a friendly product that's going to make that tan box on their desk go.

    AMD and Cyrix (may she rest in peace) have always had branding problems. The seeming omnipotence of Intel comes from their incredible marketing machine. Remember the $100 million spent on the marketing of the PIII?

    Perception is key in the eyes of the public and there's always been a skewed understanding of "underdog" chips. Perhaps with a new vision, AMD will be able to shake their "second-best" image and gain some steam with the American public.

  • Just because they're calling the K7 "Athlon" now (how does one pronounce Athlon anyway -- I keep think "Altheon" for some reason. Altheon sounds better, IMHO :), doesn't mean they're dropping the K7 moniker. As was pointed out elsewhere, K7 is probably not trademark-able, and thus Athlon was choosen as the name for the trades. Remember the K6-III is also known as "Sharptooth" -- a far better name, IMHO. Thus I wouldn't read too much into the name change.
  • by jwriney ( 16598 ) on Tuesday June 22, 1999 @07:45AM (#1838697) Homepage
    ...if you had a triple-processor box built with these things, you'd have a triathlon. *groan*

    --John Riney
  • Sounds like an athlete's foot powder or perhaps a vitamin additive.

    Note to AMD -- don't give your products "cool Ninety-Fifties Buzzword" names.

    -- adr

    What's wrong with "K7" anyway? I like it.
  • Sorry.. should be "cool Nineteen-Fifties", naturally.

  • ... which would be pentathlons and decathlons respectively. This begs for a computer manufacturer to start manufacturing a box called the "Ironman".
  • AMD seems to have the technical know-how. Now they are improving their marketing. That is what has put m$ in it's place. I believe that AMD has a good design in their upcoming chip release. Intel is sweating over the Merced, and I really believe that this is AMD's chance to take some of the server market share to. It will rough terrain for them since they are new in town in that market. But if they undercut Intel on price, they have a shot at it. That is how they cut into the home-user market. The dollar sign & good design will be two things in their favor. As for name changing, I am more technically inclined individual. Names mean little to me. Just tell me what is under the hood and how much it costs. That is all that matters in the end anyway.
  • Why can't they just use series numbers, or meaningful names with numbers - Microsoft too. I'd much rather have a "v3.0" than a "99" - it actually means something that way. If you're going to use something idiotic like "Windows98" than at least use "Windows98.1.4" ;>

    This makes processors rediculous to compare - which is getting next to impossible anyway. Is a "Kathmandu" better than a "Nepal" chip? Is it newer, or older? WTF?!

  • Good thing it comes out this year, they can dub it "Athlon 99". How goofy does "Athlon 00" sound? Or would it be "Athlon 2K"?
  • I don't like the name, but that's not my real concern. I'm still waiting to see if they can produce parts in a timely manner. Intel just stumbled, and if AMD can't produce K7s in quantity they will miss one of the few opportunities they will ever get to be number one.
    That said, I want a nice dual K7 with Linux/Be dual boot for Quake3. Yummm...
  • ...K7 is the very widely used abbreviation for "cassette". I imagine seeing K7 banners in all of the computer stores would cause a lot of confusion for francophone consumers, thinking you can buy a tape player or something for your computer. Just 2 centimes from an American living in France right now....
  • by alkali ( 28338 ) on Tuesday June 22, 1999 @09:04AM (#1838706)
    The Register has recently corrected this, noting that K7 is just the standard French abbreviation for cassette.

    (How this works: The French pronounce the letter K "kah", not "kay". [colorado.edu] Also, "seven" in French is "sept" [colorado.edu], and the "p" isn't pronounced.)

  • From spending a few minutes on a few search engines, I found out "athlon" is greek. It means "activity carried out for a prize" or simply "prize".

    I wonder if AMD knows this. You would have figured they would have at least used the Pentium style prefixes, for instance, 'Eptathlon' or 'Pentathon'.

  • hasn't it pretty much been a Wintel world to this point? It seems that about 4 years ago, you walked into a computer store and there were intel based windows machines or intel based windows machines. Now adays you see a lot more iMacs and AMD-based lower priced, yet still name brand, PCs being sold in large retail computer chains.

    The future looks more bright than dismal.

  • Yeah... I'd much rather have a "Katmai" than a "Pentium III". And "Mendocino" sounds so much cooler than "Celeron"...

    The marketroids can name them whatever they like. I'm going to keep calling them "K7", anyway...
  • I believe this is a naming scheme with built-in versioning. When the next chip comes out it would be the biathlon, after that the triathlon, etc, etc.
  • Putting the name itself aside for a moment, I would like to know why I would want to buy a Pentium rather than an AMD processor that ranks as high or higher on the benchmarks and costs half as much. Are there compatibility issues? This is very important as I'm almost ready to start building a small powerhouse "from scratch"...
  • Various words use the same greek root:

    de'cath'lon, bi'ath'lon, de'cath'lon

    I'd assume athlon would be ath'lon.

  • by GoRK ( 10018 )
    Remember, it's spelled Athlon, but it's pronounced "K7"

    That's Athlon as in Pentium.

  • Dude,

    You just wait, when the "Beijing" chip comes out - it will kick the crap out of your damn "Nepal" "Tibetan" or "Himalayan" processors and opress the bejesus out of your system...
  • Err... The paragraph in the middle should read:

    So if no other company has registered "Athlon" (in the computer industry), then AMD can be sure that nobody else will sell a processor with the same name.

  • I think what is going to happen now is that Compaq is going to now buy AMD.

    Once they have bought AMD, they will put it under the Digital Equipment Corp. flag, and we will see lots and lots of really cool computers that read:

    CPU: DEC Athlon

    Or maybe I am just wrong?
  • True enough. But, there is marketing and then there is Marketing. The occasional ad on TV or in a magazine saying "Hey! We exist! Buy our stuff." is "marketing". The full-frontal-in-your-face-24x7-got-our-own-cable-n etwork-we-put-ads-on-blimps
    -we-buy-r ights-to-rolling-stones-songs-like-you-buy-chewing -gum-you-will-sleep-eat-breath-dream-our -corporate-logo
    -we're-telling-you-where-you-will -go-today noise is Marketing

  • Let's see what AMD could have done after the K6...

    • K7 - Is a common abbreviation for "cassette" in French (e.g. videotape).
    • K8 - Kate, where are you?
    • K9 - Will bite you!
    • K0 - Is your processor crashing frequently?
    • K12 - Hey kids, this processor is for you!

    Hmmm... It's about time for AMD to rename their chip.

  • >I'm still waiting to see if they can produce
    >parts in a timely manner. Intel just stumbled,
    >and if AMD can't produce K7s in quantity they
    >will miss one of the few opportunities they will
    >ever get to be number one.

    That is indeed the sixty-four dollar question. This isn't one of the few opportunities for AMD, they've had it for each of the last couple of generations, and blown it each time by not being able to produce in quantity. If they make it this time, their stock goes through the roof. If they don't, can they survive another blunder? Each time they pay the full R&D cost to get current, and lose the early sales that pay for the R&D. Commodity chips don't cover that cost (unless you're using an old enough technology, like the C5).

  • Yeah so news stations can ignore bonehead PSN shit. Not one fucking news station ever told anyone about it. AND not one fucking Intel ad advertises it. So guess what trhey're not in it for the good guy.

    You're not an advertising graduate looking for a job, are you?
  • I think that K7 can be trademarked, I'm not sure. I do know that just plain old numbers cannot. I have to agree with one of the earlier comments about naming the chip so that the mainstream can identify.

    I have a hunch if AMD is really doing this, and as I mentioned before I have found no info on the AMD web site about renaming their chip, we should probably expect some large scale marketing from them on the release of the chip. They need to bring themselves out of the shadow of Intel, and the way they are going to do that is with advertising. I may not be a marketer, but I do know that catchy words like "Athlon" stick in the heads of the mass market which is what AMD needs to thrive.
  • IMO Alereon was a far better name. Athlon just doesn't roll off the tongue that easily, and it sounds like the latest athletic shoe. It doesn't sound like a name you would give a computer chip. Pentium is a household name. AMD has some work to do if they want to get past the intel marketing machine, and this name isn't exactly helping.

    I know AMD hasn't been very good with marketing in the past (they had SIMD something like 9 months before intel and could hardly get anyone to use it) but this is just horrible. They actually pay people to come up with this crap.

    Naming chips by the year number is a bad idea. At least five or six chips rated at different clock speeds come out every year. We would have to call it the AMD Athlon99 650MHz. That just sounds bad.
  • I could be wrong, so you probably want to do some more homework on this, but from what I have read about the K(6-3 &7) vs PIII chips is that if that are a lot of processes demanding very intense floating point calculations AMD will generally tend to lag. Creating the number of processes that it takes to do this is not easy to do. From what I hear it is nearly impossible to do it on a machine with only one user on it at a time.
    As for the K6-2, it is slower on floating point calculations in general.
    They are all really good processors, and if you aren't setting up a server with several dumb terms around all doing ray-tracing and very large and complex PERL apps, you should be fine.
  • A couple of points -- generally, you are correct about the K6-X series of processors. The K7^H^H Athlon is a different beast, though.

    However, first things first -- on anything *except* raw floating-point muscle, a K6-3 will take out a P3 at the same clock. The K6-3's caching system combined with relatively short integer pipelines makes it a mean integer machine. And actually, the Perl apps you're referring to will benefit a lot more from the fast integer performance of a K6-3 than the extra floating-point ooomph of a P3 or K7. (If you're writing fp-intensive stuff in Perl, you should have your head examined anyway. :) However, this is offset by the P3 being available at higher clocks than the K6-3, so it becomes something of a wash -- assuming you can afford a high-end P3.

    Now, the K7 is a different beast -- while it doesn't really change the world on integer, it should redefine x86 floating-point. (The integer performance may be due to having 1/2 speed L2 cache -- there may be some headroom there. Besides, the chip is still faster than a K6-X or P3-Xeon at the same clock in integer, it's just not revolutionarily faster.) The floating-point unit on a K7 is just ... wow, something to drool over. For comparison, a K7-550 was benched as having a specFP95 in the mid 20's. To provide a point of reference, that's about where the MIPS R10000 is about now. It doesn't touch a 21264 Alpha, but it torches a lot of other (even non-x86) processors. It especially takes out other x86 processors -- think 40-50% faster than a P3 on specFP95 at the same clock. I can't translate that directly into Quake framerates for ya, but trust me it's a good thing. The other thing is that the double-precision floating-point on the K7 is more pipelined than the P2/3's double-precision, so for high-end engineering, ray-tracing ... probably Seti@home, if you care ... the K7 should rock right along. For the near future, the situation of Intel having better FP per clock should be reversed ... if you want the best x86 floating-point per clock, you'll have to buy an AMD chip. (Whether you *need* that much power is something that is often discussed and even more often ignored. :)
  • The K7^H^H Athlon (reminds me of "athlete" BTW)
    uses the same Slot connector as the PII's and PIII's for economies sake but it uses a different motherboard chipset.
    AMD will be making its own at first until its three vendors start producing their sets.

    Basically you have to choose the Chip and MB together. The rest you can start spec'ing ond ordering now.
  • Which are of course ripoffs of honda [honda.com]'s VTEC, which is a acronym (abbreviation?) for a real thing! Instead of a meaningless name :).

    "Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control"

  • > AMD and Cyrix (may she rest in peace) have
    > always had branding problems. The seeming
    > omnipotence of Intel comes from their incredible
    > marketing machine. Remember the $100 million
    > spent on the marketing of the PIII?

    Hello? Remember, Intel is the money maker here. Recall how much in profits AMD reported last quarter? A loss of 88 cents/share. It is a BIG deal for them to scrap together the resources to do any sort of marketing, they don't have $100 million dollars to put into marketing, they put the money they have into R&D. Heck, their revenue for the quarter was under $700 million. Personally, I think AMD should be proud that people lose sight of the fact that they are so small compared to Intel, and don't have nearly the level of resources to put on major marketing campaigns. I also think that they are putting their money where it belongs, into R&D.

    I should mention that I have worked for AMD (and Intel for that matter), although am not currently employed by them.
  • Yes but there is also a greek word "athlion" which means bad, poor, beggarly, lousy, miserable, mean


    there is also the greek word "athlos" = feat, exploit, deed, achievement

  • Pardon me if I'm crossposting. But I think this is a PR issue.

    There's nothing more confusing than the year and title naming scheme Microsoft and Intel use.

    I know the auto industry does it with cars. It works because it's a short phrase for anyone who's out buying
    cars to recognize.

    I'm concerned that it adds an unneeded context for hardware OEMs and Do-It-Yourselfers to think about.
    They're the only ones putting the system together. HP Pavilion makes sense. It's like a car. Complete system
    with features. AMD Athlon doesn't. The processor is not a car. The processor is a feature of the machine. It's
    the hardware side of the engine. (Can't ignore Linux) If my car's feature list didn't say x horsepower engine and
    y cylinders, but just said it has the Mitsubishi Twin Turbo F-22 engine, I'd move on. I don't have a catalog of
    Mitsubishi engines mailed to my house every month that I might memorize so I know what that name means
    when I'm out shopping for cars.

    And if I were fixing a car I'd be looking in the catalog for the car itself by year to find detailed specs for the

    New customers will jump at it of course. It sounds cool. We're talking about people who have never bought a
    system and used it for a while. Customers looking for the next sytem to buy, however, will be confused if the
    processor speed, cache, 3DNow! isn't available on the feature list. And if all that is available, then it's redundant.

    It just like giving a particular screw on the PC it's own special name.

    See these for more info:

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=99/06/22/1528 210&mode=thread (the french connection is there some place)
    www.austin360.com/technology/stories/1999/06/21k 7name.html
  • Not to be out-dorked:

    tòn `áthlon

    [(smooth-breathing) alpha-theta-lambda-omicron-nu, acute accent on alpha]:

    "The prize of a contest"

    Found this at the Perseus Project [tufts.edu] at Tufts University.



  • , I think AMD should be proud that people lose sight of the fact that they are so small compared to Intel, and don't have nearly the level of resources to put on major marketing campaigns

    also capacity to produce. this is a major factor. I was reading just yesterday that amd are going for the break in intels chip release schedule (xeon pIII delays) and charging at a premium instead of having to discount them. If amd can sort out their production, the money will follow good product.
  • The previous posters have all associated floating point calculations with games like quake. I don't play games -- I do music. But FPU is VITAL to most DSP routines, and my AMD k6/2 is severely lacking compared to a slower celeron on a similar machine. The new chips are supposed to be better in that department, but they plan on making them a lot more expensive as well ($600 for a processor alone? p3's are less than that). If you're doing basic office/internet type stuff, there's no reason not to go with a low end AMD. But if you need the dsp stuff, buy Intel. Or wait until the new AMD chips have seen some real-world action and then count your pennies.
  • > You'll notice that those Integer benchmarks are
    > all low-end. High-end and FPU are STILL
    > dominated by Intel.

    You misspelled "Digital".

    (Sorry, I can't bring myself to give Compaq credit for Alpha's :)

    And the mips chips aren't bad either. Case in point: my 4+ year old 75MHz R8000 cranks through seti@home blocks a bit faster than my 6 month old 300MHz Celeron.
  • I once read a Robot Man strip in which Robot Man took his car to be repaired, and the two mechanics, obviously looking for a way to squeeze the most money out of their client, said `your monkey-fondling autoreciprocator is shot', or something to that effect. Robot Man replied, `My monkey-fondling autoreciprocator? I thought I just had that replaced....'
  • Now adays you see a lot more iMacs and AMD-based lower priced, yet still name brand, PCs being sold in large retail computer chains.

    i hope amd do well with K7's because the problem is intel is the only one making money. even though amd are selling the chips they are missing out on the higher prices that intel enjoy (read mega profits) that they can churn back into R&D, marketing and distribution.
  • cassette in french is "cassette" how the hell do you get 'k7' from that!?!? (I would want to know, actualy)

    anyway, you used to be able to get cassette players or computers, those were the good old days. *sigh*

    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • K6 is a registered name (but not "trademark") with AMD. If you look at any official references to it, it is followed by the circled 'R' (vs. the circled 'tm' for trademarks). I used to know the differences between the 'R' and the 'tm' but my brain is failing me. I believe it has to do with limits of enforcement (ie, related products can't have the same name, but the name can be used for any other purpose).
  • Alpha, was a VERY cool name.

    I wonder when Beta is coming. . .

  • Look at the Ford "Duratec" or "Zetec" engines, the Chevy "Vortec V6", etc. It's getting so that you can't tell the contents without an autopsy...
  • I always hated Alpha. I keep thinking it's feature complete, but not tested or bug-free (which is what "alpha" means in my company). Seems a better name for the Pentium :)
  • sorry to disagree, but there are plenty worse names. "RISC" comes to mind (who wants to spend a lot of money on a risk? maybe Wall Street). So does "Alpha" (who wants a processor that's not even in Beta yet?). Athlon doesn't touch these!

    But, I'll throw in a vote for StrongARM as one of the best!
  • Nothing's wrong with K7, they just have to look to the future.

    Two generations later, they've got a real marketing problem on their hands. Who's gonna buy a processor if you call it a K9? What a _dog_!

  • No kidding! Every chip generation the story is the same: AMD announces that it can make better chips than intel, demonstrates some nice specs, and then falls on their face as they can't manufacture anything. By the time they work out their manufacturing kinks, often many months later, intel drops their prices to below what AMD can sell them at, comes out with new chips that beat AMDs chips, and once again AMDs chips are second best.

    AMD has lost credibility with tons of people so far, and every time they screw up they lose even more. There are always people who are willing to cheer for AMD, mainly because it isn't Intel, but those are usually the people who are most disappointed the next time AMD announces that there are manufacturing problems, and they won't be able to meet their quotas, etc. etc. Until AMD has shown that they can produce chips in quantity, and on time, the proper response to anything that comes from them should be skepticism.
  • But you don't want Beta, wait for the release version...
  • Actually, ninety-fifties makes sense... a sort of hideos almagamation of fifties supertech words (somewhat) adapted for the nineties.
  • Athlon... It doesn't sound too bad.

    At any rate, what this DOES mean is that AMD's marketing people are actually starting to think here. They've blown their marketing of previous chips (with the help of low volume production), and they need to make this new chip sell, BAD.

    From what I've read about the new K7, it sounds like a real winner. As long as AMD can get the word out, and produce a large number of these processors ASAP, I think they will do very well. I guess only time will tell, though.

    AMD could have picked other names, and they might have been worse. I haven't seen it posted on their website, so if they don't publicly acknowledge this label for the K7, they could change it later. Let's wait and see!


    (Still have my AMD 386DX-40 system running Linux as my main home computer! ;-)
  • Anyone have the email address of AMD's marketing?

    I think time to voice these oppinions to AMD through email and newsgroups :) because Athlon is baaaad.

    BTW, notice on the AMD website that MS chose a K6-3 machine as the ultimate gaming machine. I guess the Wintel alliance is definately crumbling.
  • OK boys, check it out. I have been here in Bedrock, watching the developments of this chip since it was announced. My take is this. They could call it an "AMD Tortoise 2000" for all I care, I would still be interested.

    can AMD mass produce it and meet demand? Again, who cares? As long as I can get one about a year after they come out (one step behind, yep, that's the way to go! ;-) I will be happy.

    Why will I be happy? Here is the supporting info that none of you geeks has mentioned since this name game came out.

    From Thomas Pabst ( http://www.sysdoc.pair.com/ )

    Tom thinks that AMD's K7 will be Intel's toughest competitor ever.

    Here are a couple key excerpts from his article: (Actually, it is most of the article. ...but it was really good, what can I say?)

    1) As already pretty well known, K7 and thus Slot A is not using Intel's P6 GTL+ bus protocol, but Digital's Alpha bus protocol 'EV6'. EV6 has got a lot of architectural advantages over GTL+ already, like the 'point-to-point topology' for multi-processing, but in case of the K7 it's even running at 200 MHz. This means that it looks as if K7 will be the first CPU that can really take advantage of the high bandwidth memory types like direct RDRAM and DDR SDRAM. Intel's GTL+ running at 100 MHz has a peak bandwidth of only 800 MB/s, at 133 MHz it will have only 1066 MB/s, so that you wonder why Intel's next chipset for Katmai will have direct RDRAM support. Direct RDRAM as well as DDR SDRAM running at 100 MHz offers a peak bandwidth of 1.6 GB/s and this bandwidth is only met by K7's 200 MHz EV6 bus. I guess that AMD will have to thank Intel for pushing direct RDRAM, because K7 seems to be the first CPU that will really need it.

    2) K7 will have no less than 128 kb L1 cache, 64 kb data and 64 kb instruction cache. Pentium II is currently equipped with a quarter of that and it's rumored that Katmai may have at least 2x32 kb and thus half the L2 cache size of K7.

    3)...AMD is also planning K7-versions with no less than 2 MB up to 8 MB (L2 cache). ...The L2-cache speed will range from 1/3 to full CPU speed and it's planned to use 'normal' as well as double data rate (DDR) SRAMs.

    4) Dirk Meyer, the chief engineer of AMD's K7, is an ex-Alpha guy. Thus it shouldn't surprise any of us that K7 was designed with very high clock speeds in mind. K7 is already now running at 500 MHz. By the time of the launch of K7 in 1H99 we should expect clock speeds way beyond that. K7 has very deep buffers to enable those high clock speeds, offering up to 72 x86 instructions in flight.

    5) ...K7 will smoke Intel's P6 FPU. K7 offers no less than 3 (three!) out-of-order, fully parallel FPU pipelines. The good old disadvantage of the non-Intel CPUs in terms of FPU-performance will be history with K7.

    WAIT!!! There's more!

    In an article that I found on the AMD site ( http://www.amd.com ) (duh)

    written by By Mark Hachman, Electronic Buyers' News ( http://www.ebnews.com )

    There is discussion about the AMD K7 performance. Here are a couple quotes:

    1) Dirk Meyer, vice president of engineering for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD, offered the first performance estimates for the final K7 silicon, though the tests were run by AMD...

    2) As expected, the K7 will be produced at 600 MHz at the launch...

    3) The K7's 8-byte-wide bus will run at 200 MHz, though 266-MHz and 400-MHz speeds may follow, Meyer said.

    4) (here is the meat of the article -Fred)

    Meyer compared 550-MHz and 600-MHz versions of its K7 microprocessor with 512 kilobytes of level 2 cache running at half of the microprocessor's frequency, with Intel's 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon also equipped with 512 KB of cache, but running at the full speed of the microprocessor. Meyer presented test results, displayed as a percentage of the Xeon's performance. Both chips were optimized for their respective instruction sets: Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE) for Intel's chips, and the enhanced 3DNow instruction set for AMD.

    The two K7s produced processed integers 5 percent and 15 percent faster than the Xeon, using the SPECint benchmark. In floating-point calculations, used extensively in multimedia applications -- an area where competitors have had difficulty keeping up with Intel -- the 550-MHz and 600-MHz K7 outperformed the Xeon by 35 percent and 40 percent, respectively, using the SPECfp measurement.

    AMD also tested its parts using the 3DWinBench benchmark, the most clean-cut evaluation of multimedia performance. To set its chips directly against the competition, AMD substituted a 550-MHz Pentium III for the Xeon. According to AMD's results, however, both the 550- and 600-MHz K7 chips were at least 40 percent faster than the Pentium III.

    Finally I will conclude with a few stats that I have gleaned from the AMD technology brief created for the Microprocessor Forum (1998) that was posted to the AMD site [( http://www.amd.com ) (in case you are really dense)]

    1) 3 Parallel x86 instruction decoders

    2) 9-issue Superscalar Microarchitecture Optimized for Hf

    3) Dynamic scheduling with speculative, out-of-order execution

    4) 2040 entry Branch prediction table and 12 entry return stack

    5) 3 Superscalar, Out of order int. Pipes each with a Int. exe unit and an address gen.

    6) 3 Superscalar out of order MM pipes with 1 cycle throughput
    -FADD (4 cyc latency), MMX ALU (2 cyc latency), 3DNow!
    -FMUL (4 cyc latency), MMX ALU (inc. Mul & MAC), 3DNow!

    7) L1 cache 64k Inst Cache and 64K Data cache, each 2-way set associative

    8) Multi level TLB (24/256 - Entry I, 32/256 Entry D)

    9) Two General Purpose 64-bit Load/store ports into D-Cache

    10) High speed 64bit Backside L2 cache Controller
    -512 to 8MB
    -Programmable interface speeds

    11) Deep Internal buffering to support pipelines and external interfaces
    -up to 72 instructions in flight
    -32 outstanding load misses
    -15-entry interger scheduler
    -36-entry floating point scheduler

    Here are some interesting points of the ev6 bus:

    1) point to point, clock forwarding
    2) Decoupled address and data busses
    3) 72bit data bus with /ecc
    4) independent address and request busses
    5) independent snoop bus
    6) up to 20 outstanding transactions per processor
    7) scaleable multiprocessing
    8) separate L2 cache interface

    Independent L2 and sys busses coupled with the out of order execution scheme mentioned above sets the stage for fast "movage of the nibbles" ...did I mention 200Mhz for a starting bus speed.

    Anyway, if you are reading this you are a true "geeks geek" and I salute you. I repeat, They could call it an "AMD Slug" and I would still be interested. Now, all we have to do is wait and see how the real world version of this "wonder-chip" actually performs. We may be left scratching our heads saying, "Damn! But, it looked good on paper. ...Didn't it?"
  • As has been mentioned, K6 is a registered name and K7 could easily be as well. And while the speculation about a future processor being named "K9" is amusing, that's not the reason the K7 was renamed.

    The bottom line is that some market research was conducted, and people who heard "K7" associated that with the K6 (naturally). But the K6 is perceived as a low-end product. The K7 (excuse me: Athlon) is by no means a low end product. It runs faster than any intel processor at the same clock speed (much faster in floating point) and will be available at higher clock speeds to boot. AMD does not want anyone to think of the Athlon as a low end product for one second. It isn't.

    In the end, it's probably best for AMD that they changed the name. Although, in my opinion, "Athlon" was a poor choice. Couldn't they have come up with anything better?
  • No, REAL marketing lives in controlling the press. When you can feed people advertisments in the form of 'objective product reviews', you are going places.
  • Dis 'k' en Francais
    puis dis '7'

    Tu viens dire cassette!

  • What was that said before? Something about sold on marketing? (: This one's been taken, hook, line, sinker. Anyway, here's what I've heard:

    #1: The 'Triple' FPU is actually still lagging on the benchmarks. I can't remember but I think that was on SharkyExtreme [sharkyextreme.com]

    #2: Tom Pabst has been in bed with AMD forever, he repeatedly said that AMD was going to bury Intel with the next latest and greatest as far back as the original K6 (which blew).

    #3: The '200' MHz bus is simply a dual 100. Just the same as Matrox's DualBus technology isn't 256 bits, simply 2x128.

    #4: All of AMD's talk about full speed, 4 or 8 megs of cache.. Just remember this: When they talk about it being cheap, they mean the 1/2 speed 512k of cache. But as soon as it's convienent, they'll go back to talking about 8 megs of full speed cache. That won't come cheap. (As before, that's called good marketing, avoid the whole truth)

    Anyway, I'm done.
  • Athlon, as in Pentathlon, as in Pent(ium)-athlon???? Doesn't seem like coincidence to me. ;-)
  • Er, having a monopoly in the commercial PC OS market for 15 years has put MS in it's place, not good marketing. Don't you believe anything different.


  • Sure K7 is okay, and K8 is okay. But they want to let the new naming scheme sink in before anyone speculates on the performance of the K9 - the "dog" of a processor...

    I don't know, it worked for Dr. Who.
  • Actually...a DECathlon would be the result of a collaboration between the late Digital and AMD. And a PentAthlon would be the love child of Intel and AMD. (The PentAthlon III - 7 With MMNow!)

    --John Riney
  • Considering that chips are released at least quarterly, it would be quite a pain to tell the difference between the various Celeron98's and Celeron 99's.
    We won't even talk of the Pentium 98 and 99's. Jeez, are you talking about a PII-450 or a PIII-450. No, I'm talking about the Pentium '99.


    (On a side note, Athlon is a questionable name. This is especially due to the fact that someone else already owns the trademark.)
  • I would call it: Calculon

    "Calculon! We thought you were dead..."
    Apologies to Matt Groenig and his funny-people
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Then again, The Register says in this article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/990622-000003.html that "Athlon" would infringe on an existing French trademark.
  • "Athlon" has got to be the most incredibly stupid name for an electronic device i've heard in a while. Athlon for some reason makes me think of the word "apathy", which is certainly not an attribute I want associated with my processor. I'll probably still buy one regardless of the name (What's really in a name, anyway?).

    If they've gotta pick a silly name anyway, they could at least play up the humor factor and call it the Pooptron or Funktium or something.

  • uhm.. how does one upstarting company create a product that is garunteed to give them a Monopoly in a market without doing anything ?

    The point is, MS would have never gotten where it is today without marketing. which all Bill Gates is a salesman. He was able to promote a faulty product to millions of people and to make ludicris contracts in his favor with other companies.

    "Perfection is a glass ceiling that everyone holds themselves up to" --shadowgod
  • K8 would be how a script kiddie named Kate would write her name.

    l8r d00d
  • Now that you mention it, I remember the guys selling "K7" (bootlegged cassettes) in the streets around Chatelet, when I was in Paris. Funny I didn't remember it earlier...must be getting old.
  • Oops, my bad. You are correct Sir.
  • Gang bang?
  • It's a multi cpu thing.

    They can make dual processor boards and call them biathlons.

    Does that mean we're going to jump up to 10 for the decathlon? Or perhaps the ever tasty triathlon, for that special non-power-of-2 parallelism.
  • The K7^H^H Athlon (reminds me of "athlete" BTW) uses the same Slot connector as the PII's and PIII's for economies sake but it uses a different motherboard chipset.
    Erm. No, it does not. It uses the 'slot B' designed by alpha and mentioned in another /. article today. It also uses the much-sexy Alpha bus, and should be able to cream Intel boxen in system-to-system benchmarks once the engineers bring the full weight of the technology to bear.
  • --uhm.. how does one upstarting company create a product that is garunteed to give them a Monopoly in
    a market without doing anything ?

    hmm... seems like 'getting deal with IBM' would be the answer to that.

  • Remember, AMD took the lead with around 51-52% of all new CPU sales for the first quarter of this year. Search for it, I'm sure I read it here.
  • Athlon as they make a good chip and can manufacture pentium them, they'll be okay. I wonder if they will celeron $400?
  • Your are right in that it uses a completely different bus and inteconnect signals but the physical connector is the same as Slot 1.

    I'd like a K7/Alpha Linux box - been thinking about trying an Alpha...
  • I was perfectly fine with the K7 name... I rather liked it actually... but the Athlon? What significance does that have? It sounds like some moron athlete's processor. I don't like it. Maybe if they'd changed it to something cooler, like the... hmm, Paradigm or Infinitum.
    not Athlon.
  • You'll notice that those Integer benchmarks are all low-end. High-end and FPU are STILL dominated by Intel.

    Again, I'd wait till the K7 is actually SHIPPING before I start to quoting how "superior" it is. Vapour will lose out against even an 8088.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Wrong again. The K7 uses Slot A. Slot A will be compatible with some Alpha chips too, but Slot B is the high end Alpha slot. Just like Intel's Slot 1 and Slot 2. And on Viper's comment, Slot A is nowhere the same as Slot 1. Probably will be sized differently, and keyed differently, and differen number of pins and everything.

  • That's awesome. It could be true. Can't wait for the centathlon, kilathlon or even the megathlon.

    I think I'll be waiting a long time so the biathlon or triathlon will be just fine :-)
  • If a name as crappy as "Celeron" ended up being no obstacle to sales of countless millions of systems, then the even crappier but slightly less goofy "Athlon" should do just fine.

    They should make TV commercials consisiting of nothing but one person, in close-up, spending 30 seconds puzzling over how to pronounce "Athlon".
  • 'cos two generations from now it'll be a dog of a product :-)
  • I really like K7, it always reminds me of "The Trouble With Tribbles" Any computer component that reminds you of Star Trek is probably a good thing, although it probably doesn't remind most people of anything. I think it sounds cooler anyway though, besides, wouldn't you expect something called K7 to be faster than something called P3?
  • Slot A is nowhere the same as Slot 1. Probably will be sized differently, and keyed differently, and differen number of pins and everything.

    Electrically, no--the signals used by Slot A and Slot 1 are completely different. Physically, yes--they use the same edge-connector slot. It's no different a concept than the 6502, 6800, and 8080 all using the same socket (40-pin DIP) with different pin-outs.

  • Cool device, drivers for Windows weren't up to par though... I've thought that the SpaceOrb would make a nice mouse/controler though... Wonder how hard it would be to make drivers...

    I just want to take the rest of this post to express my opinion of the K7 Athlon thingy. Whatever it is called, I expect I'll be quite pleased with it. I have been an AMD supporter since my first K6-200, and I think that the chips, dollar for dollar, knocked the socks off Intel. I'm only considering Celerons now, because I'd like to try the dual Celeron setup, but I'd really like to hold off until K7 rolls down the line.

    K5 -- so, so. K6 -- Nice. K7 -- Nothing short of the best thing to come out at that point in time. Funny how the best is never the best more than a day or so.

    Time flies like an arrow;
  • No wonder AMD is the epiphany of bad marketing. If that's the best their idea makers can do they need to just close the doors and make controller chips or something.
    Since they are chasing Intel they could just call their next generation Decafalon 2000.

    "All the taste, none of the power"
  • I was hoping they would keep the same scheme and I could eventually have a system running with a K0 processor :) But seriously, I don't think the name is good, but I don't really care that much about names, except K9 would have been kinda funny..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 1999 @08:16AM (#1838796)
    I'm surprised everyone's commented on the name they chose and no one's mentioned the legal reasons why a name is preferable to a 'series number.' A series number isn't trademarkable, the way a name is. Theoretically, someone could have come along and started selling "486" chips that had absolutely no connection to Intel's 486 chips... that would just 'happen' to be the other companies' series number, just as it was for Intel, and who could expect to trademark a number? On the other hand, no one could come along and start calling their own chips "Pentium," which is why those chips were called Pentiums rather than 586's. IANAL, though, so if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me.
  • by jafac ( 1449 )
    It is a goofy name.
    Pentium was goofy.
    Celeron was goofy.
    Xeon was kinda cool - but still way overpriced.

    PowerPC was the goofiest of all.
    Alpha, was a VERY cool name.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • I thought the Pentium was named that because "586" was trademarked by another company!!??
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And if they called it the Sexual, you could have a two-processor box called the BiSexual! Hmm. Now I'm wondering what a quad-processor box would be called.

BLISS is ignorance.