Like the CPUs manufactured by Cyrix, AMD's K6 processor was also designed to fit within Intel-designed Socket 7-based motherboards. But unlike the Cyrix processor of the time, AMD's K6 was co-developed by the original lead designer of the Intel P5 architecture, and was based on the Nx686 microprocessor designed by AMD's just-acquired NexGen. The CPU itself was flagged to be AMD's return to the Intel-compatible processor market, taking on Intel's Pentium II without breaking a sweat.
When the processor launched in 1997, it was offered with two clock speed variations: 166 MHz and 200 MHz. The company later released a third version running at 233 MHz, followed by a 266 MHz model in Q2 '98. A final version clocked in at 300 MHz, and was launched May 1998. All versions featured MMX instructions, a floating point unit, and a feedback dynamic instruction reordering mechanism.
The K6-2, a variation of the original K6, featured AMD's 3DNow, a set of floating point-based Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions that were added to the base x86 instruction set. This allowed for simple vector processing, thus improving the performance of 3D games and other graphics-intensive software.