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AMD says it plans to release enthusiast focused processors and platforms

AMD announced today during a conference call that a new platform will be created and focused on just for the enthusiast desktop market. AMD has long been driving high-performance features on its Athlon family of processors and according to a number of surveys, most gamers are swaying towards AMD systems rather than Intel systems for gaming, or other application intense applications. Called 4x4, AMD's new platform brings along dual-socket motherboards.

The new 4x4 platform will feature two dual-core chips coupled with a dual-socket capable motherboard. AMD will also be releasing a new enthusiast focused chipset for the market, which is designed to take non-ECC unbuffered DDR memory. The new motherboards will be AM2 based, and take new AM2 FX-62 and higher -- all AM2 Athlon FX processors will have at least two cores.

AMD says that 4x4 is not simply workstation and server technology reduced down to consumer level, but is in fact, a whole new design. The company indicated that the new 4x4 chipset will be able to allow each processor core to have direct access to memory, and to have direct access to each other. The technology is called Direct Connect, and according to AMD, will be able to give huge boost to performance over traditional multi-socket platforms.

Virtualization will also make its way into the new 4x4 platform. AMD calls the technology Pacifica, which essentially is the same as Intel's VT technology, allowing virtual operating systems to directly access CPU core ops.

In related AMD news, Dell recently announced that it will begin shipping Opteron systems, but the company also now owns Alienware, which produces and ships high-performance enthusiast machines in both AMD and Intel flavors. According to AMD, the company says it would be happy for Dell to offer more AMD based systems under its own brand. It also feels that because of the growth of the enthusiast segment, it would be difficult for Dell to ignore AMD any longer.

AMD did not release details on whether new 4x4 systems would be upgradeable to quad-core K8L processors, which are expected to be released sometime in 2007. However, AMD did assure DailyTech that the 65nm Brisbane-based FX processor will be compatible with 4x4.

Interestingly however, AMD mentioned that a more updated 4x4 system called 4x4++ will be quad-core baed and support DDR3 memory sometime in 2008. The new system will also support next-generation PCI Express and new HyperTransport technologies boosting the current HyperTransport bus from 1.4GHz to 2.6GHz, or from 2.8GT/s to 5.2GT/s. According to AMD however, K8L will support both DDR2 and DDR3 memory technologies. AMD's desktop roadmap indicates that the new 4x4 family of platforms will take over the performance segment for AMD.





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