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Carmack on the K7 126

rebrane writes "John Carmack has apparently gotten his hands on a K7 and has a few favorable things to say. Notable quotable: "The bottom line is that I feel comfortable standing behind the statement that the K7 is faster than the PIII." "
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Carmack on the K7

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  • Or is he basing his opinion on a souped-up preproduction chip? Yeah, everyone'd like to have a K7-600 with a full meg of core-speed L2 cache.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • but both of those processors suck. we're talking about processors that are not complete pieces of junk that cost half a centavo for a reason.
  • I dunno.. but it sure does beat a dual carrot system.. *bwahahahaha*
  • Now they're looking to be cheaper AND Faster. faster maybe...but AMD has a huge debt hole that they want to fill with the K7 pricing. For AMD to stay i business they have to milk the high end market margins (a'la intel). So you may not get cheap K7's straight off.
  • Retail pre-orders for K7-600 are going for $950+ American right now, $720 for the K7-550, SANS motherboard. P3 550 is runs about $690 right now.

    Not sure if it'd be worth the $3-600 price difference for better performance. I could get a P3 550 or 600 and plug it into my motherboard without a hitch.

    Again, I'll wait to see benchmarks and get some platform stability/compatibility reports.

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

  • Take a look at this chart:
    CPU___K7-600 K7-550 PIII-(500*1.1)_PIII-500



    I have supposed that the increase in speed is liner (but it is less than linear, K7 increase 7% in perf whit 9% in clock ).
    We can see that in "real game" K7 15%-20% faster than PIII with TNT and 28%-35% which V3000 :). It's
    impressive how faster is K7 with a GOOD 3DNow! optimized driver (we know that Voodoo is)!
  • Western New York, (or atleast in my county) lost power, i knew when I came back from the fireworks and the clocks were blinking and the uptime on my computer was killed.

  • I agree, who let these kids play with the computers? And also, i'm glad my g/f isnt into computers, I prefer having nice times with her and what not. Its bad enough I'm into computers and geeky stuff, it'd be unbearable if we both her :P

  • hahahaha!! this is the funniest thread i have ever read on /. thank you! you rock!!

    i've used the same mac for the last 2 years and expect to use it as my main machine for another 3.
  • > Oh please. If Intel bests AMD in less than a
    > year, hooray for Intel.

    Yeah, it's a good thing to have all competition
    wiped out. That'll make for cheaper systems and
    more performance in the future. NOT!
    Horray for Intel and to-bad for us....

    Competition => innovation at a good price.
    ~Competition => stagnation at a high price.

    > If AMD wants public acceptance, they have to
    > earn it.
    No sh$t sherlock and I hope they can do it before Intel gets back on its feet. My Intel stock might not far as well but we as consumers will get better products for a good price. I'm buying AMD too, to even out my portfolio.

    > Cyrix needed "running room" too. Perhaps AMD
    > *and* Intel should have shut down their R&D
    > lab's while Cyrix caught up...
    Lighten up Francis! Who the heck said anything
    about anyone deserving some running room? I'm saying that it will be good for 'US'(not U.S.) if Intel keeps stumbling long enough (~1yr) for AMD to get its finances back enough to continue the competition.
    Funny, Intel wouldn't even be in this position if Microsoft hadn't released a 16bit OS in late 1995. Then again Intel probably wouldn't be helping out Linux and BeOS if Microsoft producted a 32bit desktop OS back then.
  • So why are you even posting here. If you don't care about new CPUs/other computer components, why bother. You just end up making yourself look like a fool.

    BTW I have a life, I work all day on non computer related stuff. I also play basketball when I have time
  • hrm... lets see who has more money to pay john carmack off... intel or AMD? christ.

    as long as AMD can keep there MHz up with intel, it should be an intresting year or so. :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Didn't you read the /. artical about intel being cheaper then the k7? but still, it's nice that "power gamers" will be using the k7 if they can keep there MHz up.....
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Just admit it. It's penis envy.
    Freud knew it. You know it. We all know it.

    So go out and buy a K7. You need it!
  • Perhaps the average /. reader should be less than overjoyed with the combination of benchmarks and price estimates [] for the K7. After all, Linux runs everything including games so much faster that buying the latest MHZ isn't important. Therefore, we are loosing another low-cost option to the Win9x hardcore bloatwear users. My future systems will probably be Celeron based, for what other choice is there for a budget box?
    Jared Warren
  • as long as AMD can keep there MHz up with intel, it should be an intresting year or so. :)
    woo hoo! Anything to present more choice in America. I'm all for some non-intel chips to come along and kick some butt.. that's what makes the world a better place.
  • here at slashdot you can read about it []......

  • Or he was paid to? Well see when they come out to the public. AMDs will fall like a rock off of a cliffy

    Leave me out of this...

  • by unyun ( 45048 )
    I read the article...
    And it said the Pentium III would be less than the K7, not the Xeon. And according to the benchmarks, the K7 outperforms the Xeon, which is what the above poster what referring to.

  • I must agree. Price/performance wise, the Intel Celeron (w/ 128k Cache, not 266/300) processor is the best on the market. It blows away ANY AMD K6-2 product, but costs less. In my original post, I may have sounded like I was putting down the Celeron. I believe that it is the best general use CPU available. BUT...

    The K7 is a post-Pentium CPU (for lack of a better term.) It can't be compared to a Celeron. Even AMD is marketing the Athlon as a low-cost high performance serverish CPU. The press releases admit that a K6-2/K6-3 could be better for many people's needs. However, unless you use Photoshop and only SMP enhanced applications, the PIII (and surely the K7) will be the champ.

    Socratic Method

    What the press releases didn't tell you:
    USB is 16-Bit ISA with a cord that can detect not WHAT you plug in, but WHEN you plug in.
    And this is the wave of the future?
  • by socratic method ( 15936 ) on Sunday July 04, 1999 @04:35PM (#1818712)
    From the AMD K7 FAQ at,1265,314 ,00.html:

    Is the AMD Athlon(TM) processor compatible with my favorite software?
    Yes. The AMD Athlon(TM) processor was designed to be compatible with the Microsoft® Windows® operating systems, including Windows® 98 and Windows NT®, as well as other leading operating systems such as Unix, Linux, OS/2 Warp, and Novell NetWare. The AMD Athlon processor was designed to be compatible with the existing installed base of more than 60,000 software packages.

    To your other questions:
    ASUS doesn't have licesne to make EV6 boards YET, I'd like to see them do it. There is no Dual K7 board that we've seen yet.

    Socratic Method

    PCI. 7+ Years and still the champ.
  • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Sunday July 04, 1999 @05:35PM (#1818716)
    No, no, no.

    The reason the Xeon costs so damn much is because it comes with (up to) 2MB of full-speed L2 cache. And while this helps the Xeon along on SPEC benchmarks a bit, where it really shines--and justifies the exorbitant price (somewhat)-- is in running large databases and such things. That's why the Xeon mainly shows up in...yep, database servers.

    Now, the K7 will eventually come in configurations of up to 8 MB (!) of full-speed L2 cache...but for now their only selling them with 512k of half-speed L2 (same as a PIII). And since they didn't post exactly which kind of Xeon the K7 beat so handily, I'm guessing it was the version with a 512k L2 cache. Now, this is still impressive, since the cache is full-speed, and that should make a decent difference in SPEC scores...but let's remember that these Xeons sell for ~$930 (Pricewatch), not ~$3500 like their 2MB big brothers.

    Of course, having said that, if you were thinking of spending $930 for a 512k Xeon, say, for a workstation or something, then hell yeah you'd be better off spending either $720 (Pricewatch again) for a K7 550, or $950 for a K7 600 (yep). And once K7's start getting onto the market in appreciable numbers (right now, they're being sucked up by OEMs as fast as they can be fabbed), the prices there will go way down--in general, the lowest price on Pricewatch is often very very close to the manufacturers price/1000. It's known as supply and demand, people.
  • I dislike NT but Mac OS sucks the big one. It is ok on the desktop where you know the quirks of your applications. But it is too prone to crash compared to NT. I wish my shop would dump all our NT machines for Unix. And I wouldn't mind having Mac OS on my desktop. But Mac OS does not work as a server. Been there. Done that.

    It does work as a server, but you have to know the limitations and work within them. For example, we have a PowerMac G3 at work which runs 4D server (database), which stays up for months. We also have a PowerCenter Pro 210 that runs 4D server hosting our A4 accounting system, NetPresenz FTP server, WebStar 2.1, and MacOS file serving. This machine usually stays up for months, too. Would I want to run a high-volume web site with lots of cgi on a MacOS 8.x server? No way. However, to say that MacOS doesn't work as a server is somewhat disingenuous.

  • I notice you haven't seen that AMD's not dropping the K6 line at any rate. They'll keep producing the Super7's as long as there's a market for them. That ought to make the low-cost PCs keep rolling out.
  • Duh ... look it up. []
  • Yeah, linux supports TNT and TNT2 now...

    These drivers will have to go a long way before becomming actually usable. I have riva128. Quake2 timedemo scores 24 fps on windows and 10 fos under linux. And 3Dfx although are supported, run slower than under windows...
  • Spot on dude! AMD has always been a fantastic example of great plans let down by poor execution.

    If it were Intel or M$ executing this poorly - we would not be so forgiving! I even suspect the K7 would be tagged as - dare I say it - "VaporWare"!
  • Yep, you're right, VIA really screwed up it's implementation of the AGP bus in it's MVP3 chipsets, just ask anyone who has one, it's a fucking abortion.
  • While he didn't include the comparable numbers, his description sounds perfectly consistent with AMD's own claims. It looks like the supporting evidence is about to start pouring in.
  • after years of a lack of innovation, it's nice to see someone pushing the 80x86 architecture further. (p.s. first post! woo hoo!)
  • AMD has always been cheaper...
    Now they're looking to be cheaper AND Faster.

    (Intel would have to sell it's Xeon cheaper than the K7 to have amd be more expensive and the k7 would still be faster. I.E. worth the price)

    Here's to AMD

    (p.s. who REALLY cares about 1st posts?)
  • Why is that a bad feeling? If Intel catches up quick, then you have not one but two fast chips to play with and drool over. That seems like a good thing to me.
  • I can't wait to get one of those. But does anyone know whether the motherboards are going to be AT or ATX?
  • I think it would be a bad thing if Intel bested AMD in less then one years time. AMD needs some time to gain public acceptance at this scale of the CPU power curve and it need some $$ to keep its business going. Competition is good but I think most will agree that AMD needs alittle running room in order to STAY a competitor.
    The same goes with Microsoft competition, if they don't get some time to gain customers, Microsoft can yank their profits by preannouncing a product that almost always is late. The competition dies from lack of cash flow. I hope AMD can keep the lead for 12 months. We'll all, OEM's included, benefit.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1 & 1 gives you 1, perhaps you're one of those with a faulty processor ;-)

    Example 1001
    0000 &

    gives 0000

    1111 &

    gives 1001

    0001 &

    gives 0001
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oh please. If Intel bests AMD in less than a year, hooray for Intel. If AMD wants public acceptance, they have to earn it.

    Cyrix needed "running room" too. Perhaps AMD *and* Intel should have shut down their R&D lab's while Cyrix caught up...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So is ignoring stop signs for pedeserians is in The Netherlands, but nobody even looks at them.
  • The size (the maximum size of an ATX board is smaller)

    Where the holes are (to attach it to the box)

    The power connector (Both the actual connector and the 'soft-power-off' stuff)

    The connectors for keyboard, serial etc. are in a standardized position at the edge of the board (the same way ISA/PCI cards have been) and don't require cables inside the box.

    And certainly some other small stuff I've forgotten to mention :-)


    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not by much, at least according to PriceWatch []. the AMD K7s (as listed by PriceWatch) are only about $40-60 more than their PIII counterparts, and considering the K7 hasn't been out for too long I'd say that's good, and the price should drop after a while hopefully...

    And also you must realise that not even Linux can turn an old P-133 into a P6-4000 (Yea I'm being a bit overboard with that statement, but you get the idea), which is important considering the ever increasing game requirements...
  • That a large (for some definition of large) part of the human race likes 'dick-sizing', usually these individuals also happen to be in the part of humanity that make the most noise and they also happen to be in the part of humanity with the 'largest-dicks' (for some definitions of largest, dick and humanity)


    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we're *very* impressed with your credentials. Indulge me while I go through them again, just for the sheer pleasure of it:

    1) you have a computer
    2) you're a chick
    3) you seek to impress us with 1 and 2, above


    As amazed as we are with #1 and #2, that all pales in comparison with how flattered we are with #3.

    And, if I may speculate, you must have other astounding attributes that you haven't yet shared with us. Please, we would love to hear them.

    P.S. Shall we call you "babe", "WunderBra" or just "Anonymous Coward"? You tell us... we're so in awe of your technical sophistication, your aloof and condescending attitude, and, yes, your gender, that we wouldn't want to be presumptous.
  • I would have to say that beers kill far more than bears, but I would bet that bears hurt a LOT more. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 1999 @11:26AM (#1818752)
    the Athlon is all well and good, but they will be
    using a new chipset. There's no telling what its
    quality will be like. If they're bucking broncos
    like the Super7 boards are, the Athlon will be dead in the water.

    Super7 boards, while much improved in the past few months, still suffer from compatibility problems with various hardware -- especially video cards.

    Dont get hung up on the Alpha bus...once you get past the mezzanine, it's a garden variety PC with all the junk in those "super I/O" chips.

    I'm pulling for the Athlon, and hope there arent too many incompatibilities, but it's almost a certainty that there will be some. Brace yourselves.
  • Dr. Who's dog K-9 is faster than two pieces of overcooked celery?
  • MacOS tends to crash a lot, but it usually crashes when the computer does something specific, and if it does not crash the first time it usually doesn't crash the next. It either crashes immediately, or keeps on running. On the other hand, NT has a real tendency to randomly crash here or there. MacOS's crash proneness is do to its lack of memory protection, not its design in general. MacOS crashes because applications running under it crash, taking down the whole system. It is usually not MacOS itself which crashes, and when MacOS itself does crash, it is because a buggy piece of software corrupted the operating system in memory or data the operating system needs.
  • Dude, you should use your power (processing power, that is) for good instead of evil...seti@home!
  • Again, the prices to consumers will begin to approach the OEM's price/1000 once the supply can meet the demand. OEM's sell CPU's on Pricewatch only when they can get more for them than they can get building a system with them.

    So, since the K7 just came out, and AMD is only selling a few thousand the first month, and there are more than a few thousand people who realize what a kickass chip it is and are willing to pay a premium for it, and because it makes them look cool to be the first to offer K7-based systems...most OEM's would rather take all the K7's they can get their hands on and put them in computers rather than sell them seperately.

    Unless, of course, they can make a huge profit on them.

    Now, once the number of K7's out there stops being numbered in the tens of thousands and starts being numbered in the millions, then OEM's will start having more than they need. So, they'll try to offload them--at a profit if they can, at a loss if they can't. Whether they can or not depends on what other people on Pricewatch are charging. The more OEM's with excess chips, the lower they have to charge...and the more the price resembles their cost from AMD.

    Supply and demand.

    How do we know AMD didn't secretly raise the price? Well, because, with several thousand OEM's in this country, perhaps one of them might have said something if they did.

    Patience, my child.
  • Well AMD would certainly be fools if they didn't make sure that some good dual processor m/b's hit the market soon. That's one of the K7's strongest points in my opinion.
  • I'll blame Intel for this one - the AGP specs were kept a little bit closer-in, in comparison to the VERY widely open PCI specs*. Also, as the LX/BX chipsets were the first ones out of the gate, a lot of graphics companies only tested with the Intel chipsets. Sigh.

    Other than that, IMO the Super 7 chipsets are pretty nifty. (So is the 440BX, though :)

    (* - this is why I called Micro Channel a marketing blunder... IBM failed to sell it to other clone vendors. Intel et. al. OTOH made it easy for anyone to get PCI onto their motherboards, etc.)

  • That is true, Intel has lots of stuff up its sleaves. Coppermine is nothing compared to what is coming as far as a 7th gen from Intel.

    By 7th Gen I am speaking of IA32, not IA64 (aka Merced). I don't remember what it is nicknamed, but this is supposed to be a kickbutt IA32 processor.....probably will be only in Socket 420....since Intel looks to be pushing that new socket soon.

    Anyways, if I remember correctly the new IA32 processors have the cache scattered thru out the core and have atleast 3 FP pipelines. Does anyone else have more information on it?

  • Nope... Linux isn't faster for 3D gaming... _yet_. Right now it uses indirect rendering and goes through the X server, etc. Tons of context switches, lotsa memory passing, etc. Not fun. (The plus side is that you can run a 3D app on another machine and display it on something running a GLX-enhanced driver, e.g. a G200 or TNT(2))

    Performance issues aside, the GLX module system is quite nifty. And XFree86 4.0 will fix that... when it comes out.

    (Last comment: Something to remember is that the X system is sorta like NT 3.x's GDI in that it is a seperate process and not in-kernel. It's better in that it's network transparent though.)

  • i am offended at this post... very hostile, very sad
    Sun Tzu loses credibility
  • I hope the k7 does well... because if AMD falls, P3 prices may fall quite slowly... :\
  • Posted by planders:

    Well, actually, I kind of wish my girlfriend was more into computers than she is. If nothing else so she would get as excited as I am about my programming accomplishments.

    She understands the basics of computers and uses them frequently but she sees them only as a tool to get stuff done, not as an end in and of themselves or an enjoyable pursuit. I can understand that point of view but I do kinda wish she would get a little more excited about it all. ;-)

    Good thing we have a lot of other stuff to talk about and enjoy besides computers!

  • I dont know about you, but I can instantly tell if I am sitting at a celeron system or a full blown PII/PIII system. it isnt nearly as responsive. for SMP work, the size of the cache is a lot more important. I am talking about things like Photoshop, Apache, etc. as far as pure number crunching like what you would do with RC-5 or even SETI@Home, there is little diffrence. also as many peaple have stated, going SMP relies a lot on the application. Most high end CAD or Graphics programs will work faster, but dont expect to go any faster with word perfect or something. with these two pitfalls of a dual celeron vs a single K7, I would go with the K7 any day (It would be much more cool anyways). If you notice, noone is marketing dual celeron systems for high end workstations or servers, even though there are dual celeron main boards out there. Do you think that there is a reason for this ???
  • Carmack has enough money laying around and a great enough reputation as someone who is more interested in technical truth than anything else to go and do something silly like be bought off.


  • Chances are, just like every other new processor, the majority of them will be ATX.

    Theres no technological reason to require one or the other from a motherboard processor & chipset perspective.

    I used to be afraid of ATX. I used to think it's too expensive. Then i worked with some ATX systems. I appriciate that i don't have to screw around with a baggie full of connectors on ribbon cables. I will never build another AT system again.
  • I'm thinking that if it isn't too hard to do, a limit on AC messages from a single IP in a certain time period would be nice.
  • for christs sake its spelled lose, with one o

    and 1 & 1 = 1, not 0
  • Linux does not run games faster. Q3 and Q2 both run much slower, under 3dfx and especially under the primitive TNT drivers, than the windows counerpart. This is more an indication of driver quality than the OS itself... but its still true.
  • Bullshit, show me a hardware configuration under which Linux GL Quake2 will run faster than on windows98. And linux does not even have yet the drivers for the fastest video card on market out there (TNT? TNT2? S4? G400? Rage128? anyone?)
  • I've always liked AMD, and their technology has almost always been slightly to moderately superior to Intel's.... What sucks is that as a _business_ AMD has been largely disfunctional.

    Manufacturing shortages, bad batches, etc. have plagued the company for years. What good will the K7 be if they can't meet demand? Joe-average isn't going to wait, nor is the uber-geek (who typically has the patience level of a thimble).

    I'm concerned the K7 will be another tragedy of great technology executed by a poor business.

  • In Windows 98, K7 by a long shot.
    In Windows 2000/NT5 (or NT4), I'd imagine it would depend on the program. If it is SMP optimized enough (ie Photoshop 5 or the like), then the Celerons would put up a good fight. However, the limitations to SMP technology do not allow for a separate RAM Bus (running at only 100MHz, as opposed to 133MHz+ for Athlon) for each processor. This, among other resasons (mostly bus related), is why 2 Celeron 300As at 450MHz do not equal 1 Celeron 900MHz. Also, the FPU Spec scores for the Celeron are VERY LOW as compared to a PIII. Most applications that are SMP optimized are extremely FPU intensive. Linux is the same story as NT.

    Anyway, I'd imagine that a K7, or even a PIII, would kick the god-fearing crap out of your Celerons. Even if you were running 20 of 'em.

    But remember, with the the Athlon CPUs, SMP=scalability. Likely to be a different story.

    Socratic Method
  • What I wonder is, if Linux runns smoothly on the K7. Is it supported and if yes, how fast (bogo-mips, whatever, ...) is it?

    K7 will definitly be my next CPU. But I think Ill be waiting until October so they can do a second stepping CPU and prices can drop.

    Which boards are supported right now (is there an ASUS board?) and is there already a dual-K7-board?


  • Posted by planders:

    Who sits around childishly posting flamebait and then following each response up with a "I know you are but what am I"?

    Someone here needs to get a life, and it ain't me.

  • the correct thing would be :
    1 xor 1 = 0
  • I have been running a 6100/66 and AppleShare IP 5 since AppleShare 5 came out approx 2yrs ago, the computer functions as my offices' central drop box. For approx 75 people who use it regularly to post any updates or useful files that everyone should have access to, it has not crashed a single time in fact it has only been shut down once to install a new hard drive (the old one got full) about a year ago, other than that it has been running non-stop and I run no maintenance, no Disk First Aid, no Norton, nothing (I laugh in the face of danger). And my 8550/150 webstar box is just as problem free, true Macs won't run Yahoo, but for workgroup servers (what NT is most often used for) they will run just fine.
  • Carmack's article appeared to focus on the speed the K7 provided to gamers. Given his background, that's no surprise :-)
    But gamer speed really depends on the graphics cards, motherboards, and connectivity between them and the CPU more than it does on raw CPU speed.
    So how fast is the K7 (vs.PIII) at integers and floating point? Are they roughly balanced, or is this one of the chips that's faster at integers at the expense of floating point? Can it do MMX or other parallel execution tricks?
    Are there specmarks or other cpu/memory intensive benchmarks?
  • I know this is off topic *but*: Netscape in X seems to run slower than Netscape in Windows.. I don't know if this is Netscape, X, Linux, Whatever... Or if I just have something configured wrong.
  • the K7 does not use socket 7. It uses the socket A architecture. Try going here: Athlon FAQ [].

  • It surely is "innovative" to construct a working tricycle with a 600 ps engine. Especially if it finally is slightly faster than a tricycle powered by a 3 year old.

    Great. Hallelujah on modern technology!
  • Does anyone have information on the speed of the K7 for RC5 key cracking? (Its not listed on

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.