In San Jose today Intel and AMD will set out their rival stalls for next year's Katmai versus K7 match, with AMD taking the offensive for the first time in years.
So far AMD has managed to carve out a better share for itself at the low end of the market, but it is now tooling-up for an assault further up the PC food chain.
K7 will be out in the first half of 1998, and will initially run at speeds in excess of 500MHz. AMD will push heavily K7's 3D graphics capabilities and will support Direct Rambus memory technology.
Intel's counter will be the Tanner chip using the new Katmai instruction set. Tanner too will debut at 500MHz, but while Intel is trailing the prospect of a 1GHz version by the end of the year, AMD will move K7 production to a copper process during the period.
That means competition on price will be a major factor, but AMD thinks graphics could be its secret weapon. The company believes 3D technology has been important to the success of the K6-2, and recently said it felt Katmai would be too new, and the part too expensive, to command the interest of developers.
Intel itself last week fleshed out a roadmap taking the company into the next century, making it clear that Tanner and the other forthcoming members of its IA-32 line would remain major revenue sources up to and beyond next year's Merced rollout (Newswire 9 October).
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