Now-a-days it’s hard to imagine any field of human activity where the help of computers isn’t in demand. They have become what the people can’t do without everywhere – in work, getting education, entertainment. Their expanding and general availability are the result of the huge step that the technical progress in the PC processors industry has made for the last 10 years.The productivity of processors is much higher than it was even 5 years ago, and the cost – lower.The other motive is the increasing competition among the companies producing processors.
The leading position at the market of processors was taken by Intel and there were no companies that could seriously compete with Intel. But the last 3 years it has to share the market with another processors producer called AMD - Advanced Micro Devices - the company whose success is the point to be told about below.
HISTORY OF AMD
As the AMD story has unfolded, its product lines have expanded, its culture has evolved, and the individual successes of its people have grown. Here's a brief summary of the three decades that have passed - and a very favorable indication of the years that lie ahead.
Among the things that unite AMD employees around the globe is a history highlighted by remarkable achievement. Since 1969, AMD has grown from afledgling start-up, headquartered in the living room of one of its founders, to a global corporation with annual revenues of $2.4 billion. The events that shaped AMD's growth, the strengths that will drive its future success, and a timeline encompassing AMD's defining moments are featured here.
1969-74 - Finding Opportunity
By May 1, 1969, Jerry Sanders and seven others had been toiling for months to pull together their scrappy start-up. The year before, Jerry had left his job as director of worldwide marketing at Fairchild Semiconductor, and he now found himself heading a team committed to a well-defined mission-building a successful semiconductor company by offering building blocks of ever-increasing complexity to benefit the manufacturers of electronic equipment in the computation, communication and instrumentation markets.
Although the company was initially headquartered in the living room of one of the co-founders, John Carey, it soon moved to two rooms in the back of a rugcutting company in Santa Clara. By September, AMD had raised the money it needed to begin manufacturing products and moved into its first permanent home,901 Thompson Place in Sunnyvale.
During the company's first years, the vast majority of its products were alternate-source devices, products obtained from other companies that were then redesigned for greater speed and efficiency. "Parametric superiority" were the watchwords of AMD even then. To give the products even more of a selling edge, the company instituted a guarantee of quality unprecedented in the industry - all products would be made and tested to stringent MIL-STD-883,regardless of who the customer was and at no extra cost.
By the end of AMD's fifth year, there were nearly 1,500 employees making over 200 different products - many of them proprietary - and bringing in nearly $26.5 million in annual sales.
1974-79 - Defining the Future
AMD's second five years gave the world a taste of the company's most enduring trait--tenaciousness. Despite a dogged recession in 1974-75, when sales briefly slipped, the company grew during this period to $168 million , representing an average annual compound growth rate of over 60 percent.
On its fifth anniversary, AMD began what was to become a renowned tradition - it held a gala party, this one a street fair attended by employees and their families.
This was also a period of tremendous facilities expansion, including the construction of 915 DeGuigne in Sunnyvale, opening an assembly facility in Manila, Philippines, and expanding the Penang factory.
1980 - 1983 - Finding Pre-eminence
The early 1980s were defined for AMD by two now-famous symbols. The first,called the "Age of Asparagus," represented the company's drive to increase the number of proprietary products offered to the marketplace. Like this lucrative crop, proprietary products take time to cultivate, but eventually bring excellent return on the initial investment. The second symbol was a giant ocean wave. The focus of "Catch the Wave" recruiting advertisements,the wave portrayed by the company as an unstoppable force in the integrated circuit business.
AMD became a leader in investment into research and development. By the end offiscal year 1981, the company had more than doubled its sales over 1979. Plants and facilities expanded with an emphasis on building in Texas. New production facilities were built in San Antonio, and more fab space was added to Austin as well. AMD had quickly become a major contender in the world semiconductor marketplace.
1984-1989 - Weathering Hard Times
AMD celebrated its 15th year with one of the best sales years in company history. In the months following AMD's anniversary, employees received record-setting profit sharing checks and celebrated Christmas with musical group Chicago in San Francisco and Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns in Texas.
By 1986, however, the tides of change had swept the industry. Japanese semiconductor makers came to dominate the memory markets - up until now a mainstay for AMD - and a fierce downturn had taken hold of the computer market , limiting demand for chips in general. AMD, along with the rest of the semiconductor industry, began looking for new ways to compete in an increasingly difficult environment.
By 1989, Jerry Sanders was talking about transformation: changing the entire company to compete in new markets. AMD began building its submicron capability with the Submicron Development Center.
1989-94 - Making the Transformation
Finding new ways to compete led to the concept of AMD's "Spheres of Influence." For the transforming AMD, those spheres were microprocessors compatible with IBM computers, networking and communication chips, programmable logic devices, and high-performance memories. In addition, the company's long survival depended on developing submicron process technology that would fill its manufacturing needs into the next century.
By its 25th anniversary, AMD had put to work every ounce of tenaciousness it had to achieve those goals. Today, AMD is either #1 or #2 worldwide in everymarket it serves, including the Microsoft® Windows-compatible business, where the company has overcome legal obstacles to produce its own versions of the wildly popular Am386® and Am486® microprocessors. AMD has become a pre-eminent supplier of flash, EPROM, networking,telecommunications and programmable logic chips as well. And it is well on its way to bringing up another high-volume production area devoted to submicron devices. For the past three years, the company has enjoyed record sales and record operation income.
AMD looks very different today than it did 25 years ago. But it is still the tough, determined competitor it always was, weathering every challenge because of the unending strength of its people.
1994-1999 - From Transformation to Transcendence
AMD's growth through the rest of the century will likely be fueled by the exploding demand for mobile computing and telecommunications devices, two markets for which AMD has spent years developing products. Key to the company's success will be building close relationships with its customers, and continuing to develop the manufacturing and process technologies necessary to produce future-generation submicron devices.
One thing is for certain, AMD's future will be shaped by the same principles that are woven into its past: a competitive drive, a focus on customers, innovative new products, and the ability to learn and adapt to change. Most of all, the company's future will be shaped by AMDers, the people whose efforts created a successful, and now legendary, company.
The Am486 Processor
This CPU incorporated write-back cache and Enhanced power management features. These characteristics made the Am486 CPUs the perfect choice for Energy Star-compliant "green" desktop systems and for the growing portable market segment. With clock-tripled performance speeds up to 120 MHz, this CPU offered great price/performance value for both desktop and portable computers by providing power management and write-back Enhanced features at no extra premium.
The Am486 microprocessors featured Enhanced power management features, including SMM and clock control. These enhancements allowed reduced power consumption during system inactivity. The SMM function was implemented with an industry standard two-pin interface. In write-back mode, frequently used data were stored in the high-speed internal cache and accessed continually from within until the data were modified, thus increasing the performance of the CPU.
The Am5x86 Processor
The Am5x86 processor incorporated advanced features to achieve 586 performance. The Am5x86 CPU runed clock quadrupled at 133-MHz with a 33-MHz external bus. High-performance features such as a unified 16-Kbyte cache using write-back technology minimized the time the x86 core must have spent waiting for data or instructions, thereby accelerating all business and multimedia applications.
AMD's 0.35-micron process technology enabled AMD to deliver superior value with the Am5x86 processor. In addition, the design and pinout of the Am5x86 processor leveraged off 4th generation system costs, allowing manufacturers to position Am5x86 CPU-based systems as the best value for entry-level desktops or mainstream notebooks.
The AMD-K5 Processor
This processor's fifth-generation performance stemed from AMD's independently conceived AMD-K5 superscalar core architecture, which combined highly efficient reduced instruction set computing (RISC) through put with complete x86 instruction-set compatibility.
The result was a superscalar processor solution capable of issuing four instructions per clock cycle twice as many as the Pentium. That was more than enough power to run complex 32-bit operating systems and applications, as well as the huge installed base of 16-bit software.
AMD designed the AMD-K5 processor to be pin compatible with the Pentium. And that was good news for PC manufacturers and resellers who wanted to leverage their existing PC designs and infrastructure while relying on an alternative source of processors. The bottom line: Pentium hardware/socket compatibility means no system redesign, lower design costs, and fast time tomarket.
The AMD-K6 Processor
As a member of AMD's E86 family of x86-based processors , the AMD-K6 gives systems developers access to the largest base of programmers and existing software while enabling powerful, cost-effective solutions for today's increasingly sophisticated embedded applications.
The AMD-K6 microprocessor has redefined the desktop PC market, providing sixth-generation performance at an affordable price. Now, embedded applications can benefit from the reliable, affordable computing power derived from this powerful microprocessor. The AMD-K6 microprocessor gives embedded customers a significant performance boost which enables them to produce superior products.
For applications such as central office switches, point-of-sale terminals, information appliances and Windows based single board computers, the AMD-K6E microprocessor is an excellent choice for OEMs looking to take advantage of the x86 instruction set. They can continue to use the industry's mostprevalent architecture to produce products with high performance and fast time-to-market.
The AMD-K6-2 Processor
The AMD-K6-2 processor offers a powerful combination of system price and performance and is the aleternative to Intel's Pentium II processor.
The AMD-K6-2 processor with 3DNow! technology delivers leading-edge, sixth-generation performance for today's demanding Microsoft® Windows® compatible homeand office applications. The 9.3-million-transistor AMD-K6-2 processor is manufactured on AMD's 0.25-micron, five-layer-metal process technology.
The distinctive chracteristic of AMD-K6-2 processor is 3D Now! technology.
AMD's 3DNow! technology is the first innovation to the x86 architecture that significantly enhances 3D graphics, multimedia, and other floating-point-intensive PC applications to enable a superior visual computing experience.
3DNow! technology is a set of 21 instructions that use SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) and other performance enhancements to open the performance bottleneck in the 3D graphics pipeline between the host CPU and the 3D graphics accelerator card.
3DNow! works hand-in-hand with leading 3D graphics accelerators to achieve faster frame rates on high-resolution scenes, improved physical modeling of real-world environments, realistic 3D graphics and images, and theater-quality audio and video.
The AMD K6-III Processor
This processor is the newest product of AMD issued in February of the present year.
This CPU ,code-named "Sharptooth", is basically a K6-2 with a 256K L2 (second level) cache incorporated in the chip. It's well-known that the L2 cache can cause huge impacts on the CPU's performance. By doing that, the K6-III has the fastest L2 cache on the market - only the extinct Pentium Pro and the extremely expensive Xeon Pentium II (a Pentium Pro in a Pentium II suit) share the same feature. Because it remains compatible with the Socket 7 standard, the motherboard L2 cache should become an L3 cache, which also increases the CPU's performance a little.
This innovation being used in K6-III has got the name of the TriLevel Cache design.
TriLevel Cache Design
AMD's TriLevel Cache design enables the AMD-K6-III processor to process instructions faster and deliver better performance at the same clock rate than the AMD-K6-2 processor and Intel's Pentium III.
AMD's innovative TriLevel Cache design maximizes the overall system performance of AMD-K6-III processor-based desktop PCs by delivering one of the industry's largest maximum combined system caches. This larger total cache results in higher system performance.
AMD's TriLevel Cache design is not only the largest cache implementation for desktop PCs, it is exceptionally fast.
The TriLevel Cache design also offers an internal multiport cache design. This flexible design feature delivers higher system performance by enabling simultaneous 64-bit reads and writes of both the L1 cache and the L2 cache. In addition, each cache can be accessed simultaneously by the processor core.
The AMD-K7 Processor
The AMD-K7 design features a number of compelling technological breakthroughs, including the industry's first mainstream 200 MHz system bus and the most architecturally advanced floating point capability everdelivered in an x86 microprocessor.
The Microsoft Windows compatible AMD-K7 processor with 3DNow! technology offers seventh-generation design features that distinguish it from previous generations of PC processors. These innovations include a nine-issue superscalar microarchitecture optimized for high clock frequency,a superscalar pipelined floating point unit, 128KB of on-chip L1 cache, a programmable high-performance backside L2 cache interface,and a 200 MHz Alpha EV6-compatible system bus interface with support for scalable multiprocessing.
The AMD-K7 processor is expected to be available in July or August of 1999 and is planned to operate at clock frequencies faster than 500 MHz,based on AMD's 0.25-micron process technology. The AMD-K7 processor will leverage existing physical and mechanical PC infrastructure.
AMD K7 processor will definitely help AMD to compete with Intel's future Katmai processors and beyond.
So with such processors as the AMD-K6-III and the AMD-K7 AMD is becoming the most serious competitor of the Intel company at the market of processors for PC. And this competition is breaking Intel’s monopoly braking the technical progress in the field of computer technologies, making the producers of processors invest more money in research and development of new technologies. The result of these is the increasing tempo of the technical progress. Now it’s hard to predict what processor we will see over the next 10 years.
THE LIST OF KEY WORDS
AMD=Advanced Micro Devices
TriLevel Cache Design