KarbosGuide.com. Module 3e.05
The AMD K6-3
AMD announced the very powerful K6-3 for quite a long time. It was delayed quite a while, should have been released February 22nd 1999. During the delay Intel had time establish its Socket 370
version of Celeron. But finally it arrived in the summer of 1999.
Using the next version of this chip - model 9 code name
"Sharptooth" - you may have three levels of cache!
In the K6-3 you find:
A slightly improved K6-2 unit.
An in-chip L2 cache of 256 KB.
TriLevel Cache design.
New 133 MHz Front side bus.
Clock speeds of 400 MHz and 450 MHz.
TriLevel Cache design
Both the 64 KB L1 cache and the 256 KB L2 cache are integrated with the chip. This L2 on-die cache works at full processor
speed just like it did in the Pentium Pro, and as it does in the Celeron
A and in the Xeon processors from Intel. This will definitely speed up
the K6 quite a bit!
Since the K6-3 is to be used in a Super 7 motherboard there is room
for another level of cache, the L3 cache. The TriLevel Cache design is
constructed to use the existing motherboards with up to 2 MB of cache on-board.
This used-to-be L2 cache (on the motherboard) is used as the third level
of cache. This happens automatically, and the bigger cache seems to increase
performance a lot!
Tests show performance from the K6-3 450 MHz comparable to the
Pentium III 500 MHz processor. This is coming from a Socket 7 motherboard!
My prediction is that the K6-3 will be an excellent CPU at a very good
price. The problem was to find it, the K6-3 never became very popular.
Still weaknesses in the FPU
Traditionally only Intel can produce a powerful FPU
(Floating Point Unit). Test confirms that the K6-3 has
the same FPU as the K6-2 does. At same clock frequencies it performs 40%
under the Pentium III. However the 3DNow! technology, which is supported
by the Microsoft DirectX software layer, makes up for the weak traditional
FP-performance. In test it ends up 15% under the equaling Pentium III.
The die size
The K6-3 obviously is bigger than the K6-2, due to the integrated L2 cache.
However it is a lot smaller than the Athlons :
|K7 Athlon 0.25 micron
|K7 Athlon 0.18 micron
|Intel Pentium III Cumine
In 2000 the K6-3 is expected to disappear from the market. It never became a success. However, the K6-2 has been a great seller, so AMD will launche new versions of the K6-3 as K6-2+.
This new chip will have following features:
0.18 micron process technology
Integrated 256 KB L2 cache
Additional 3DNow! instructions (from Athlon)
The maximum speed from this design is expected to be 750 MHz. Hence one can expect the Socket7 platform soon to die out.
Read about chip sets on the motherboard in module
Read more about RAM in module 2e
Read module 5a about expansion cards, where
we evaluate the I/O buses from the port side.
Read module 5b about AGP and module
5c about Firewire.
Read module 7a about monitors, and 7b
on graphics card.
Read module 7c about sound cards, and 7d
on digital sound and music.
Copyright (c) 1996-2005 by Michael B. Karbo. www.karbosguide.com.