Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is on target to up the ante in its processor line up in this year's fourth quarter with the launch of the K6-3, which will integrate 256KB of on-chip performance enhancing Level 2 cache memory, a company representative said.
The company this month has also quietly started providing samples of a 350MHz version of its current flagship K6-2 processor family to select Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers, and is scheduled to start volume supplies of the chip to key system vendors next month, the AMD representative added.
After running into several snags late in 1997 and earlier this year, AMD in the past quarter successfully converted its production lines from 0.35 micron to a more efficient 0.25 micron process technology, which has allowed the company to ramp up volumes as well as reach higher clock speeds.
The 0.25 micron process will also allow the chip vendor to design processors with a lower power consumption, and AMD now expects to have mobile versions of the K6-3 ready by next year's first quarter, the company representative said.
In the current quarter, AMD expects output of processors to grow by about 1 million units over the 2.7 million units produced in the company's second quarter, and to as many as 6 million units in the fourth quarter, the representative added.
AMD's fastest K6-2 processor to date runs at 333MHz, and while the 350MHz version only will mark an incremental upgrade, the addition of the on-chip cache memory to the K6-3, which is planned to run at 400MHz, will give the new processor a significant performance boost, sources at Taiwanese motherboard makers said.
The K6-3 will fit into the same Socket 7 architecture motherboards used by the older K6 and K6-2 chips, which will allow PC vendors to use the new processors in existing system designs, the sources added.
AMD will also officially open its new infrastructure group facility in Taiwan, which is aimed at providing validation and support services to the island's hardware makers, the AMD representative said.
As a result of a technology cross-licensing agreement signed by AMD and Motorola early last week, AMD by 2000 expects its next-generation K7 processors to reach clock speeds as high as 1GHz.
AMD expects to reach the higher clock-speeds by using copper-chip manufacturing technology from Motorola that it will apply to a 0.18 micron process technology at its new wafer fabrication plant currently under construction in Dresden, Germany.