AMD said today it will add MMX instructions to its chips for the first time at the turn of the year, although it doesn't expect the algorithms to contribute much to software performance until the second half of 1997.
MMX will go into AMD's 'K6' code-named CPU which will sample in December 1996 or January 1997, with volume delivery expected for March. The K6 is expected to hit Pentium Pro performance levels but will be priced along the lines of the Pentium and will slot straight into P55C (MMX Pentium) sockets.
However, AMD European regional marketing manager Richard Baker said he didn't expect MMX to help users until the third quarter of 1997, by which time software developers should have got to grips with the necessary APIs. Microsoft only yesterday announced a version of Direct3D optimised for MMX.
"MMX will be very useful but it won't be a substitute for fast graphics cards or modems," Baker said. "There will be a few samples but nothing of much use to business until the third quarter. It's not what was first mooted but I expect it will be very useful for games."
Cyrix says by the end of the year it will be sampling a version of the 6x86 processor, code-named M2, that supports the MMX instruction set. Volume availability will be early in 1997.