AMD Mobile K6 CPU Technology Guide

Just as the desktop version of its K6-2 processor with 3DNow! technology stole a march on Intel by reaching the market well before its Pentium III was able to offer similar 3D capability via its Katmai New Instructions, AMD’s Mobile K6-2 enjoyed a similar advantage in the notebook arena, having succeeded in getting a number of major notebook OEMs – including Compaq and Toshiba – to produce systems based on its mobile K6 family by early 1999.

AMD’s K6 mobile processors were available in Socket 7 and Super7 platform-compatible, 321-pin ceramic vPGA packages or BGA packages for smaller form factors and at speeds of 266MHz, 300MHz and 333MHz. The Mobile K6-2 operated at a core voltage of 1.8V and dissipated less than 8 Watts of power running typical applications.

The Mobile K6-2 family of processors was later complemented by the higher performance AMD K6-2 P range – both processor families sharing a number of performance-boosting features, including AMD’s 3DNow! technology and support for Super7 notebook platforms that implemented leading-edge features, such as a 100MHz FSB, 2X vAGP graphics, and up to 1MB of Level 2 cache. By the autumn of 1999 the Mobile AMD-K6-2-P range had been extended to include a 475MHz version – at the time the highest clock speed CPU available for x86 notebook computing.

Mid-1999 saw the announcement of the Mobile K6-III-P processor based on AMD’s advanced sixth generation microarchitecture and sporting AMD’s unique TriLevel Cache design. This comprised a full-speed 64KB Level 1 cache, an internal full processor-speed backside 256KB Level 2 cache, and a 100MHz frontside bus to an optional external Level 3 cache of up to 1MB. The 21.3-million transistor Mobile AMD-K6-III-P operated at a core voltage of 2.2V and was manufactured on AMD’s 0.25-micron, five-layer-metal process technology. Originally available at a clock speeds of up to 380MHz, the range had been extended to a maximum speed of 450MHz by the autumn of 1999.

In the spring of 2000, the announcement of its Mobile AMD-K6-III+ and Mobile AMD-K6-2+ processor families at speeds up to 500MHz saw AMD’s mobile processors make the transition to 0.18-micron process technology. Early the following year, the company achieved another significant first, with the announcement of the first seventh-generation processors – the 600MHz and 700MHz Mobile Duron CPUs – to enter the notebook market.