The IDT WinChip C6 CPU


The IDT WinChip C6 CPU is certainly no particularly great performer, but that was never claimed by IDT either. It is a 'low trouble' CPU with a decent integer performance under Windows 95 that might have some impact at the low end sector of IBM's and Cyrix's 6x86MX market. I personally like this CPU and would prefer it to the 6x86MX PR2 166, because it's so much easier to handle, however as long as the 6x86MX is cheaper, I wouldn't see a sensible reason for spending more money on the C6. Although my expectations were extremely low, the C6 shows that it can beat at least the slowest 6x86MX or offer pretty much the same performance.The C6 will be sold for $135 (200 MHz), $90 (180 MHz). The $135 for the 200 MHz version are pretty much the same what the PR2 200 rated K6 and 6x86MX CPU will cost from beginning of November. Both CPUs are faster than the C6 200, so that IDT will have to lower prices pretty soon if they want to sell the chip.

What I would like to see in the near future is a real low power version of the C6, which is running at 2.8V or even less. Then I hope that IDT will be able to crank up the clock rate yields, which could result in quite a market share, probably taking over customers of IBM and Cyrix. I think that the biggest future of the C6 will be in the notebook market in case they can reduce the voltage to about 2V. This and a clock rate of 400 MHz will even give Intel and its upcoming notebook version of the Pentium II quite a little bit to think about.

The road map doesn't look too bad regarding the above said. IDT is planning a 225 (3x75) MHz and a 240 (4x60) MHz version for this November and next year there will be a WinChip C6+ with improved FPU performance (as fast as Pentium MMX) and much improved MMX performance (faster than Pentium MMX) as well as extended x86 instructions that shall improve 3D performance up to threefold. These new instructions will be distributed within Microsoft's next Direct3D. The WinChip C6+ will use a 1/4 micron die and run at only 2.5 V.

For late '98 we can expect a 300 MHz C6+ as well as a new version with on-chip 256kB L2 cache.