The AMD K7
AMD's new K7
If you remember some time ago, we were the first site on the Internet to bring an exclusive hands-on preview of the Pentium III, and now we are doing so with the latest and greatest by AMD, the K7. If there's one thing that AMD hates to admit, it's that they're constantly playing second fiddle to Intel in the CPU wars. Although they've never had a problem staying afloat, "better, faster, and cheaper than Intel" has always been AMD's long term goal.
The road to beating Intel has always been a long and tortuous one. The original K6 was supposed to provide better performance the Intel's best, the Pentium Pro. However, production delays kept the K6 out of market until well after Intel was able establish a performance-leading dominance with the Pentium II.
We started to see the same story with the K6-2. 3D-Now! extensions provided a big boost to specialized floating point applications, but due to AMD's lack of a pipelined FPU, what could have given AMD a definite edge instead was only able to match the performance of an equivalent Pentium II. Also considering the fact that was only in highly optimized and specialized tasks and applications, it seemed like AMD was once again handed second-row seats.
The K6-3 is AMD's current high performance chip, offering such amenities as 64KB L1 cache, integrated 256KB full-speed L2 cache, and of course, higher and higher clock speeds. For the real first time, an AMD CPU was to do more than keep up with its Intel competition. Real-world test scores showed that AMD had pulled ahead in the business realm, but without much surprise, floating point was still lacking.