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Intel's Enemy No. 1: The AMD K6 CPU


The first thing I'd like to say is that one thing is for sure: The Pentium MMX is now a completely obsolete CPU ! The K6 233 will be priced lower than the Pentium MMX 200 and it's faster than this CPU in almost every respect. Compared to the Pentium Pro and to the upcoming Pentium II you will have to make up your mind. If you should be a Windows 95 user the answer should be clear. The K6 is faster than any current CPU under Windows 95 and will probably be just as fast as the Pentium II at the same clock speed . Under Windows NT the K6 233 is still at least as fast as the Pentium Pro 200, but it will most likely be considerably slower than the Pentium II at the same clock speed. Hence the NT user will have to know what he really wants. If he just wants the best performance, regardless for what price, he should wait for the Pentium II. If price is of importance, consider what you are doing with your system. The K6's weakness is the FPU. If a lot of rendering power is needed, the Pentium Pro and the Pentium II are the much better choice. The K6 is also unable to run in multi CPU systems, so this will stay a domain for Intel as well for now. If you are only doing business applications however, the K6 is a very attractive alternative. There will very soon be a K6 266 and it will be much cheaper than a Pentium II. For the money you save you can get other hardware, which could make your system even faster than the Pentium II system for this price.

If you should be worried about compatibility issues, you can relax. Unlike the problems with the Cyrix/IBM 6x86, the AMD K6 is running even on boards that don't recognize it. As long as your board is supporting dual voltage, the K6 runs on it. BIOS upgrades either now or very soon available to enable the special features of the K6 to give it maximum performance. Although the K6 233 is officially asking for 3.2 V, which is not available on the most current boards, it was running flawlessly at 2.9 V on every board I've tested it on.

For 'Tom's Overclocker Community' this CPU is an El Dorado as well. The K6 233 runs great at 250 or even 262.5 MHz and is able to beat even overclocked PPros or Pentium II 233 at these clock speeds. This is something you get for free, so why not be happy about it? I can't wait to test the K6 266 at 291 MHz and I'm sure that the K6 at this speed can even compare to a Pentium II 300.

All in all I'm sure that this CPU will be very successful. The current mainstream market still is the Pentium market. Whoever is contemplating the purchase of an Intel Pentium or Pentium MMX CPU can forget about this now. The AMD K6 is faster and cheaper. As long as the Pentium II isn't officially available, the K6 is even a serious alternative to the high end system market.

The current choice is only 'K6 or Pentium Pro' . Even when the Pentium II comes out officially (I know you can buy it already, but you can't buy boards, haha) it will be much too expensive for its little performance increase over the Pentium Pro. The Pentium Pro is a very good CPU and its internal L2 cache is making it unique. However the K6 is still even cheaper than that, it is just as fast in most respects and it has got the MMX instructions, if this should be of importance to you (it obviously is to Intel).

  • rockstone1
  • rockstone1
    17 years later.
  • beta212
    Damn, 16 years late. I came to this article after seeing a link on ars, it's rumored that Tom is in Singapore somewhere.