Five years ago: AMD chipset move breathes life into Socket 7

AMD is moving into Socket 7 chipsets just as Intel plans to vacate the space

First published 13 March, 1997

Today at the CeBit show in Hannover, Germany, AMD announced its AMD-640, a chipset that supports its own Pentium-class K5 and the K6, a Pentium Pro-class processor with MMX that the firm today confirmed will be released on April 3. The chipset supports synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) and EDO RAM, the Ultra DMA/33 33Mbps hard drive protocol, Universal Serial Bus and Plug and Play. Unlike Intel's latest 430TX, the chipset also supports ECC memory.

In a prepared statement, AMD said the AMD-640 will enable PC makers to cut time to market for their products. It will also offer an alternative to Intel now that the chip giant plans to move to a new architecture called Slot One as of Pentium II, due to launch in May. Based on technology licensed from Californian chipset giant VIA, the chipset is described by AMD as "the first product in a broad initiative to ensure the Socket 7 infrastructure supports feature sets at the leading edge of the marketplace over time".

"Intel moved to Slot One to move people on and freeze Cyrix and us out," said Richard Baker, regional marketing manager for PC products. "This gives people, especially the guys who design their own boards, some sort of choice." Baker said that it also plans to follow Intel into incorporating support for the Accelerated Graphics Port high-speed graphics bus and expects wide industry support: "The specification is public information and all the graphics people are scared."

Separately, AMD will at its CeBit stand show the K6 besting performance of the Pentium Pro in a special "bake-off".

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