Advanced Micro Devices plans to begin sampling of its next-generation K6 microprocessor in the fourth quarter, with volume production set for the first half of 1997. Also in the fourth quarter, AMD will release higher-speed versions of its Pentium-class K5 processor. The 133-MHz K5-PR133 will be the mainstay of these releases, and 120-MHz and 150-MHz versions are also on the company's roadmap, according to AMD officials.
PC manufacturers looking for processors with even higher performance will have to wait for the K6. AMD officials made no mention of anything along the lines of a 200-MHz K5. Instead, they says that the K6 will offer performance ranging from the equivalent to Intel's P55-C up through the Klamath version of its Pentium Pro, which is expected to offer speeds in the area of 233 MHz.
The K6 will also have MMX capabilities to support multimedia applications.
AMD, based in Sunnyvale, California, has a lot riding on the K6. Low prices for processors overall and delays in production of the K5 have put a pinch on AMD's earnings in recent quarters. In the July quarter, AMD announced a loss of US$34.7 million. "Until we have K6 we'll struggle," says Steve Zelencik, AMD senior vice-president and chief marketing officer.