On Tuesday, our visit to AMD proved to be mostly a review of information we already knew, but as usual, it was nice to meet up with the guys and gals behind the Athlon. For those of you that havent been following the roadmaps, AMD has quite a future planned out for the Athlon as well as the Super7 platform. Lets first start out with the future of Super7.
It seems as if the K6-III is going to finally go away, the rumors of a 500MHz part were reduced to just that -- rumors, and AMD is finding that the K6-III has no role in the future of the Super7 platform. The K6-2, however, will continue to be the "low-end" Super7 part and will even gain a clock speed increase towards the end of this year. The upcoming K6-2 part will be no different from the previous K6-2 chips weve seen (it will still be a 0.25-micron chip), and will feature a 95MHz FSB (with the last K6-2 being a 500, you can pretty much guess what this upcoming chip will be clocked at). Other than that, there is nothing new in store for the K6-2 in 1999.
The chip weve all been hearing rumors about was shown to us behind closed doors. The K6-2+ is the chip were talking about and it will soon take the place of the K6-III as the "high-end" Super7 CPU. While AMD is not willing to release the specifics of the processor, we do know that it is a 0.18-micron Super7 part, and features an on-die L2 cache. The size of the L2 cache will be less than that of the K6-III making 128KB the most likely option for the on-die L2. Other than that, there shouldnt be many changes from the K6-2 featured in the K6-2+. The L1 cache is most likely going to stay at 64KB.
The K6-2+ we saw was used in a notebook setup in order to demonstrate one of its new features called Gemini. The Gemini technology is a lot like Intels Geyserville (Speed Step) in that it allows the frequency and core voltage of the CPU to be dynamically adjusted depending on the amount of battery power available (and whether or not the notebook is plugged into its AC adapter). The demonstration we saw showed the K6-2+ running at a 2.0v core voltage at its maximum frequency and at 1.5v when its battery power was limited. These may not be final core voltage figures, but it will give you an idea of what kind of motherboard support will be necessary for the K6-2+. According to AMD, a BIOS update is probably the only requirement for compatibility on current Super7 motherboards, but that has yet to be confirmed.