Exclusive: AMD axes the K6-III

The rumours were true: AMD's Pentium III bashing processor is no more. Will Knight reports

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has axed its year old K6-III range of microprocessors due to lack of demand.

An AMD spokeswoman confirmed to ZDNet Wednesday that "demand for K6-2 chips and Athlons has pushed out demand for K6-IIIs." The decision to discontinue K6-III microprocessors became effective Tuesday, she said.

Quoting the official line on the chips' demise, the spokeswoman said the company hopes the existing range of K6-2 and Athlon microprocessors will offer a sufficient range of price and performance in the consumer PC marketplace.

The K6-III was introduced in January last year as AMD took on Intel's Pentium III range. The main advantage over its Intel rival was a three-level caching scheme, as opposed to the two-level version on Intel's equivalent.

According to Romtec PC research analyst Nicky Bird, the death of the K6-III is no surprise. "With the [Athlon] at the top and the K6-2 at the bottom, the K6-III seemed to be getting squeezed out," Bird said. "The K6-2 has had good take-up but there seem to be few machines using the K6-III."

Bird also points out that this makes considerable sense from a marketing perspective. "AMD do not want the range to be too confusing," she said. "Two lines is a sensible number."

AMD's Athlon chips currently offer clock speeds up to 800MHz and provide AMD with significant muscle against Intel in the consumer field. AMD is believed to be widely sampling Athlons running at 850MHz and, according to reports, the company hopes to reach the magic 1GHz mark by the summer.

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