Cyrix aims at tier 2/3 players with 6x86MX

Cyrix is lowering its sights as it releases its 6x86MX processor, formerly known by the 'M1' codename. Systems based on the part will ship in July.

The CPU minnow is trumpeting its product as a close competitor to Intel's Pentium II but says it won't be making great efforts to curry favour with blue chip PC brands and the corporate desktop domain ruled by Intel.

"With our mainline products we found it extremely difficult to get design wins from people like Compaq, except where it was a special line," said Brendan Sherry UK managing director. "There's an old adage that big companies buy from big companies, and that seems to be true. Retail is the classic environment where we find Cyrix PCs. We're not in the workstation business, we're not in the SMP business, and it's unlikely we'll sell a lot to BT or Citibank. That'll be later.

"At the moment we're focused on entry-level and mid-range. Typically our customers are small and medium-sized integrators. The positioning of the 6x86MX is Pentium II performance at half the price, and 25 per cent less than [AMD's] K6. Our aim is to go beyond the five million total we hit with the 'M1' [6x86]. We want every integrator who built a PC with the 6x86 to build one with the M2."

Sherry said he expected MX sales to quickly overtake vanilla 6x86. "We don't expect to be selling too many of the 'classics' by the end of the third quarter," he said.

Separately, Sherry said that Cyrix was working with integrators to produce systems with DVD drives for under $1,500 (£1,000) a pop by Christmas.

Sherry said that Cyrix had learned that it needed to price its chips well below Intel after receiving heavy criticism in the past for unrealistic prices. "I think the point we learned was price elasticity... we learned the sweet spots."

Cyrix plans to market the 6x86MX with the catch line 'Extreme processing for the multimedia rush', "reflecting the move to a more consumer-like approach", Sherry said.