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AMD K7 Preview

Hier een korte samenvatting uit JC's PC News:

The K7 is the first of the "seventh generation x86 microprocessors", in that it offers features found in no current x86 processor designs and promises to run faster, even at the same MHz speed, than any x86 processors out today. It is designed to compete in performence with other 7th generation processors, such as the Intel Willamette and Foster (due out mid 2000) and the Cyrix Jalapeno (early 2000). The most touted feature of the K7 is its 200 MHz bus, but it has several other features, some possibly more important, that set it above current 6th generation processors.

Extremely large L1 cache:
The K7 doubles the cache once again to 128k. This may not guarantee that the performence of the chip will effectively go up a speed bin, but it could have the effect of removing danger from memory-related bottlenecks.

Awfully variable L2 cache:
The K7 will, like the PII, have L2 cache on a cartridge near the sillicon, but not integrated on top as with the K6-3. The slight difference between the two is that K7's L2 cache will be a bit more changeable. Initially, the L2 cache will be running at a third of the speed of the processor. It is suggested that AMD will have later versions at full, and possibly half speed. The size of the L2 will range from 512 k, in the consumer model, to a whopping 8MB on the hihgest end server model! (I believe the best 6th gen server chip, Xeon, is currently limited to 2MB configurations).

At Comdex'98 the latest K6 core offering was at 400MHz, while the latest K7 core offering ran at 500MHz. It is conceivable that they could reach far higher seven months (or so) from now, when the K7 is finally debuted.

AMD created their own chipset for the K7, but has little problem with the idea of other companies making K7 chipsets. AMD's low-cost chipset consists of the Northbridge "Irongate" and the Southbridge "Cobra". The demo K7 shown at Comdex used this chipset on a motherboard suspiciously named "Gomez".
Acer Labs was also announced by AMD, in the same press release wich announced VIA's similar effort, to be making a K7 chipset.

A heavy rumour began to circulate that ASUS had committed to making Slot-A mobo's. This has not yet been confirmed. FIC has very close ties to VIA, so will likely be one of the front runners in the race to produce a Slot-A motherboard.

The Plan:
The K7 will debut at 600MHz. The K7 is superpipelined, as the incredibly overused term goes.

The Worries:
The L2 cache speed is a little on the low side. Indeed, the L2 of the PII-450 runs at a higher clockspeed than the K7 at 600MHz will. Ofcourse, the L1 cache may make this a trivial problem.

Potential Futures:
The EV6 bus speed is spec'd to eventually reach 400MHz. So it will not take serious reengineering to produce a 400MHz bus K7 in the future.

The Slot-A platform has an inherent strength in being as proprietary as 3DNow!-that is, as soon as Slot-A is debuted fully, nearly all other cpu makers will be permitted to produce processors for these motherboards.

Door Nieuwsposter

20-12-1998 • 01:44

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