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-- by Jonathan Blackwood, Jim Forbes , Cynthia Morgan
The DirectWave MVP K6-200 was the first production K6 system we tested. This 200MHz unit demonstrated performance on par with a 200MHz Pentium Pro machine, with both running Windows 95 rather than NT. The AMD-K6 processor is being introduced in 166MHz, 200MHz and 233MHz versions; expect a 266MHz (and possibly a 300MHz) version later this year.
The DirectWave's large tower case required a screwdriver to open. Once inside, there's a standard Socket 7 (Pentium-style) ASUS motherboard with an Award BIOS. Wires were tucked neatly out of the way in the roomy case, which offers ample expansion with three PCI, three ISA and one shared ISA/PCI slot. A 5.1GB Maxtor EIDE hard disk occupies one of the internal drive bays; three of the five bays are free, with a 16X Mitsumi CD-ROM drive and floppy drive filling two. The MVP K6-200 arrived with 32MB of RAM (expandable to 256MB) and 512KB of level 2 cache. The 200W power supply is adequate to drive a host of internal peripherals.
Compatibility is an important issue for any non-Intel processor, and the MVP K6-200 handled everything we threw at it-including Windows 95, Word, Excel, our own Wintune 97, Adobe's Photoshop and Equilibrium's DeBabelizer-without a hiccup.
The system's performance on our graphics benchmark script, although lower than its 266MHz PII competition, was still fast enough to indicate its successful execution of Intel's 57 new multimedia instructions (Intel and AMD signed a technology-sharing agreement in January 1996 covering the new multimedia extensions). Based on these test results, it's not unrealistic to expect that the 266MHz K6 will match the PII's performance on our MMX macro loop. This system earns a slot on our WinList.