Good news and bad news from AMD

Good news and bad news from AMD

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) launched its fastest K6-2 processors to date at Comdex/Fall '98. The company introduced models of the processor with 3DNow! Operating at speeds of 366, 380 and 400 MHz, which it claimed puts it only one speed grade behind market leader Intel's high-end 450MHz Pentium II processor.

In a side by side Winbench comparison of identical systems running a K6-2 400 MHz and a Pentium II 450 MHz, the K6-2 delivered an approximate 8 per cent performance advantage.

AMD earned instant credibility when Compaq Computer became the first major PC vendor to announce new consumer models in its Presario range based on the 400MHz K6-2. Compaq announced a new line of broadband-ready Presario PCs with integrated 1.5MB Digital Subscriber Line modems. The Presario 5100c series starts at US $1599 with the new 400-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor, 128MB of memory, an 8GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 17-inch monitor.

On the down side though, AMD also reported a hitch with the new processor.

According to a notice posted on AMD's Web site, starting Windows 95 Operating System Release (OSR) 2, OSR2.1, or OSR2.5 on a computer with an AMD K6-2 processor running at 350MHz or faster may result in one of three error messages requiring the user to reboot.

An incompatibility between Windows 95 and the K6-2 processors running at 350 MHz or faster can keep systems from booting, AMD confirmed.

The problem is reported to be caused by a software timing loop in Windows 95 that is sensitive to processor frequency. It is an incompatibility, not a processor erratum, according to AMD officials. The problem does not occur with Windows 98 or Windows NT, so one fix is to upgrade the OS. Another solution is available by contacting Microsoft directly.

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