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October 14, 1998

RISE HAS MP6 INTEL COMPATIBLE CHIP FOR LOW-COST PCs

By CBR Staff Writer

Rise Technology Co, the Santa Clara, California-based fabless chip company, finally unveiled the first details of its much anticipated mP6 family of processors at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose on Tuesday. Aimed at what Rise calls the Basic PC market the mP6 adds multimedia capabilities more usually associated with high-end PCs, and has cut the power consumption to make the part usable for portable, as well as desktop applications. Rise argues that basic PC users are looking for such features as good 3D graphics, soft modem and DVD support as part of the package. OEMs using the chip will be able to produce lower cost products, according to Rise chairman and CEO David Lin, the man who set up NEC Corp’s chip operation in North America. Some market estimates say that up to 50% of total PC sales will be in the basic PC segment next year, defined as sub $700 desktops and sub $1,000 notebooks. The Socket 7 compatible mP6 has a three-way superscalar design, pipelined floating point unit and three-way superscalar MMX support. It can execute three complete x86 instructions every cycle. Rise claims that, measuring core performance at the same clock speeds, its chip shows a 15% improvement in performance over the Pentium II. The chip also includes dedicated circuitry for built-in power management – though Rise hasn’t yet said what the power consumption actually is. It says it will reveal more details, including the crucial pricing information, when the chip goes into full production later this quarter. A second family member, the mP6 II, is under development, and Rise promises performance in line with Intel’s forthcoming Mendocino chip. It will include an on-chip 256K level 2 cache. Both parts will appear first in .25 micron process technology, with the mP6 II moving to .18 micron. Rise’s principal engineer, Ken Munson, has spent the last three years developing the products, after CPU and chip design experience at Amdahl Corp and S3 Inc. He says that Rise has established strong relationships with a number of fabrication partners, to be revealed soon. A requirement for the fab partners is that they hold Intel patent cross-licensing agreements, he said. Rise, situated right across the street from Intel Corp in Santa Clara, currently has 90 employees, and a sales and support office in Taiwan.

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