AMD officially launched its K6 microprocessor last week, a day after it forced Intel into an embarrassing legal defeat in a Delaware court over the use of the MMX trademark.
The K6 is shipping now and in independent performance tests fell just short of the more expensive Pentium II (PC Week 25 March). The K6 233MHz costs $465 per chip in volumes of 1,000. It will be cheaper than Pentium II but by how much exactly will not be determined until Intel ships its processor, sometime between now and the end of June.
Speaking at the launch of the K6, Jerry Sanders, AMD's chairman and CEO, said: "Today marks the return of competition in Windows compatible computers."
PC makers which have tested the K6 said they are impressed with its performance.
Dimitri Cheras, marketing director at Elonex, said: "People are shocked (by the K6's performance). The specs are very good both in terms of performance and compatibility and it presents a good cost of ownership story because it is priced reasonably."
Joe D'Elia, senior analyst at Dataquest, was equally impressed by the K6. "I believe this really is as significant as AMD suggests. For the first time Intel is actually being outdone by a competitor - they've yet to launch the Pentium II and the K6 offers almost the same performance at a cheaper price," he said.
Intel was dismissive of K6's credentials. "This is a fairly transient moment in terms of technology. AMD should enjoy this while they can," said a company spokeswoman.
AMD scored further success against its rival last week when a Delaware court rejected Intel's attempt to stop it using the MMX logo. A federal judge ruled against Intel's request for a temporary restraining order on the use of the MMX logo with AMD chips. The company will proceed to market the chip as the AMD-K6 MMX processor. Cyrix will also use the MMX logo, but must credit Intel for the technology.
The court has scheduled a further hearing on 29 April to hear Intel's arguments for a preliminary injunction.
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