A future-generation Pentium II processor, code-named "Katmai," will be available in early 1999, Intel announced today. Katmai is a 32-bit CPU with over 70 new MMX instructions that improve floating point and 3D performance. The CPU also provides natural speech recognition capabilities. The new MMX instructions in Katmai are geared toward business applications, not games, said Richard Dracott, a marketing director at Intel. This new brand of MMX was originally called "MMX 2."
Furthermore, the Katmai processor is expected to debut at speeds of at least 500 MHz. Non-Katmai Pentium II processors, the so-called "Slot 2" version of the Pentium II, should reach speeds of 450 MHz by the end of this year.
Other improvements to the venerable x86 line are also in the works. Though Intel will introduce 64-bit Merced CPU in 1999, it expects to sell new 32-bit designs concurrently with the 64-bit designs for many years. A new 4X Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) chipset will double the performance of of today's AGP graphics bus. It's also due in 1999. After Katmai, Intel will introduce the "Willamette" processor, due in late 1999. Willamette will improve on Katmai while providing x86 compatibility and faster speeds