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Big players sign on for K6

Leading PC makers look like they are ready to introduce systems using AMD's newest chip.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is beginning to ship its K6 processor to leading PC makers that are slated to introduce systems using the chip in the coming months.

The company formally announced its long-awaited K6 MMX processor last week after a trademark dispute with Intel. The chip runs at speeds of 166, 200, and 233 MHz. But at launch, AMD was only able to announce that the processor was being adopted by smaller PC manufacturers in the United States.

None of the heavyweight vendors seemed ready to sign on for a chip that competes with Intel's Pentium and upcoming Pentium II processors. (Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.)

But now top-tier PC makers are readying systems for debut in the second quarter that use K6 processors, according to sources familiar with the systems. Hewlett-Packard is cited as one potential user, as is Digital Equipment. Compaq Computer has also been brought up as a potential customer, though possibly at a later date.

The PC vendors are anxious to keep a lid on their decision until everything is nailed down, although AMD is naturally looking forward to proclaiming some big-name support. "These vendors will not allow AMD to say anything until they announce systems," one source said.

AMD is expected to soon ratchet up the speed of the K6 to 300 MHz and add mobile versions of the chip to run inside notebook PCs.