Cyrix looks to go head-to-head with Intel, AMD

Cyrix has for the first time demonstrated working systems built around its M2 microprocessor at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference '97, in San Francisco. The M2 competes against Intel's Pentium II chip and follows Advanced Micro Devices' introduction this week of its Pentium Pro rival, the K6 processor.

Cyrix has for the first time demonstrated working systems built around its M2 microprocessor at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference '97, in San Francisco. The M2 competes against Intel's Pentium II chip and follows Advanced Micro Devices' introduction this week of its Pentium Pro rival, the K6 processor.

With backing from a major OEM, the M2 chip could find acceptance in the enterprise.

"Cyrix has a chance if IBM - who manufactures this chip - puts it into PCs it sells into the US corporate environment,"says Nathan Brookwood, a microprocessor analyst at Dataquest. "They are selling Aptiva models in Europe with the Cyrix M1 chip. And whenever you see M1, translate this into M2 [in Europe]."

Cyrix displayed its M2 systems with a 233 performance rating (PR) running MMX-enhanced software. Cyrix has reached an agreement with Intel over the use of the MMX trademark, says Steve Tobak, vice president of marketing at Cyrix.

The systems are built around motherboards from First International Computer (FIC), which is also using Cyrix's low-cost MediaGX chip in its new Leo Oasis Databook multimedia PC.

VIA Technologies, which is affiliated with FIC, supplied the core logic. VIA has also licensed its VT82C590 Apollo VP2/97 chipset architecture to AMD for use in its AMD-640 chipset, which complements the K6.

Cyrix next quarter will introduce M2 chips with performance equivalent to 166-MHz, 200-MHz, and 233-MHz devices, Tobak says. Using a new process at IBM Microelectronics, which manufactures the device, Cyrix will offer a 266-PR device later this year.

Early in 1998, Cyrix will move to a 0.25 micrometer (micron) process, which will lead to a 300-PR version of the M2, Tobak says. It will also cut power consumption.

Cyrix Corp., in Richardson, Texas, can be reached at http://www.cyrix.com.

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