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K6-2 Performance Guide

(Over)clocking - Summary Clock Speed

The benchmarks show the K6-2's qualities to compete with the Pentium II at medium clock speeds (266 to 333 MHz), but it also makes pretty clear that the Pentium II will always take advantage of its higher clocked L2 cache. That's why it's almost impossible that a K6-2 400 or 450 will be able to achieve an overall performance comparable to the Pentium II, only games could profit from the 3DNow! instructions. AMD knows about this and also plans to equip future CPUs with an integrated 2nd level cache. The move to 100 MHz bus speed was important for socket 7 and of course enables much higher performance. But we should not forget that those performance gains mostly come from the L2 cache which benefits tremendously from higher clock speeds.

It's not the main memory which should be clocked as fast as possible; it's the L2 cache which should run at a clever relation to the CPU clock speed. Using the external clock for the L2 cache will never enable highest performance (socket 7), and clocking it at full CPU clock is fast, but very expensive (see Pentium Pro or Pentium II Xeon). It seems as if half CPU clock seems to be the best compromise between high performance and costs; Intel also plans further CPUs based on this concept (Katmai, Coppermine, both Slot 1) .

The K6-2 still has great chances to become very popular. DirectX6 is about to be released, and many game software developers have agreed to support 3DNow! Intel is also working on a new instruction set which will possibly be called "MMX2". If AMD succeeds in establishing large amounts of CPUs and convincing enough software developers to support 3DNow!, the way for winning customers from Intel may be paved. Let's hope that sun of 3DNow! doesn't set before its maximum blossom.