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Intel's MMX-the chip manufacturer's enhanced Pentium processor architecture-can significantly boost the performance of many multimedia applications. "The biggest benefit that MMX brings to mobile users is increased functionality without making the box bigger or heavier," asserts Charlie Carey, Intel's Mobile Product Launch manager.
Intel will ship 150MHz and 166MHz versions of the MMX processor this year. These processors will double a regular Pentium processor's available cache from 16KB to 32KB. The chip's enhanced microarchitecture will also jack up performance by about 10 to 20 percent over a comparable Pentium processor without MMX. Carey says that once software designed to take advantage of MMX becomes available, performance gains could exceed 60 percent in some cases when using the MMX-enabled applications.
MMX software will be available this year from a number of multimedia publishers. Microsoft plans to support MMX in its Direct3D API, ActiveMovie video technology and Visual C++ compiler. Other prominent hardware and software companies have announced support for MMX, including Macromedia, Adobe, IBM, ATI, Creative Labs and Yamaha.