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AMD demo system with a Phenom running at 3.0 GHz  (Source: AMD, AnandTech)

A shot of the Windows Vista system properties screen, with Phenom running at 3.0 GHz  (Source: AMD, AnandTech)
AMD dismisses claims that it's quad-core architecture can't ramp clock frequency

To kick off AMD's Analyst Day at the company's Sunnyvale, California headquarters, AMD demonstrated a system running on a quad-core desktop 3.0 GHz processor.  The processor, codenamed Agena, will be the flagship AMD high-end offering.

The system used standard cooling, though company officials would not disclose how much power the system consumed. In addition to the unannounced processor, the system also included a three-way CrossFire configuration.  Two ATI Radeon HD 2900 graphics adaptors provided video acceleration for the system; the third, we were told, provided physics support for the demonstration.

AMD made two systems running the Agena processors available for media to play select games.  The company would not let anyone view the system properties details, but sent the two featured images to press beforehand.

AMD's quad-core Opteron launch, slated for later this summer, is expected to debut at 2.0 GHz.  Company roadmaps ramped this clock frequency launch down several times -- the company's original roadmap launch plans indicated we would see a 2.6 GHz processor at launch.

An AMD engineer, speaking on terms of anonymity, claimed to DailyTech that the company took on several unplanned respins for the K10-family.  "We ramped the spin aggressively.  It's going to bring the clock frequencies we need for the desktop," he said.

The company would not comment on when the 3.0 GHz Phenom-based processor would debut, though the company has previously indicated Phenom will ship for volume by the 2007 holiday season.

Update 7/31/2007: According toThe Inquirer, Charlie Demerjian was allowed to confirm the system core frequency was 3.0 GHz from the system BIOS. 

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Good to see finally
By AMDfreak on 7/26/2007 4:51:31 PM , Rating: 5
I'm glad to see higher speeds on AMD Quads, but there's still a couple of big questions.

- How many can they make?
- How much headroom is there for overclocking?

RE: Good to see finally
By Duraz0rz on 7/26/2007 4:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see it too, but we won't know any of that until they launch, I believe.

RE: Good to see finally
By TomZ on 7/26/2007 5:04:45 PM , Rating: 1
Also, has the cost been announced? I guess probably not.

RE: Good to see finally
By DXtreme on 7/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: Good to see finally
By TomZ on 7/26/2007 9:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing. Maybe the Vista performance doesn't really give any weight to the additional cores.

But really, that may be a realistic measure, since for typical desktop applications, you'll have 2 idle cores most of the time.

RE: Good to see finally
By Captain Orgazmo on 7/26/2007 9:48:36 PM , Rating: 5
5.9 is the maximum possible score in Vista at this time.

RE: Good to see finally
By DXtreme on 7/26/2007 10:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know 5.9 was the max. That makes sense now.

Thanks for the info!

RE: Good to see finally
By JWalk on 7/26/2007 11:35:09 PM , Rating: 5
Yep. And the reason the maximum number is currently 5.9, is because Microsoft plans to update the Windows Experience Index as the market changes. So, at some point they will increase the maximum possible score to like 9.9 or something to reflect the power of the latest hardware. At least that is the idea. ;)

My guess is that it will get some sort of update when the first service pack is released. Considering the fact that current hardware can max it out pretty easily, it seems due for some additional headroom.

RE: Good to see finally
By Griswold on 7/27/2007 3:43:14 AM , Rating: 5
First of all, the overall score is always the lowest score of any given part, in this case not necessarily (und unlikely) the processor. Its probably the harddisk. But since 5.9 is apparently the highest score anyway, its a moot point.

RE: Good to see finally
By RjBass on 7/27/2007 3:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
5.9 is the maximum score you can get in Vista.

RE: Good to see finally
By RjBass on 7/27/2007 3:42:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well crap, I should have kept reading. Somebody else already mentioned the maximum Vista rating level. Sorry for the repeat.

RE: Good to see finally
By StillPimpin on 7/26/2007 5:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
But more importantly, what about the performance of that Tri-fire setup? That's what's really impressive to me.

RE: Good to see finally
By alifbaa on 7/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: Good to see finally
By Mattz0r on 7/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: Good to see finally
By johnsonx on 7/27/2007 12:15:02 PM , Rating: 3
If you'd RTFA, you'd know the 3rd card is for physics. No bridge needed, since it has nothing to do with the display and doesn't talk to the other two cards.

RE: Good to see finally
By Martimus on 7/28/2007 9:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
There is a bridge, but it isn't visible (like you said) The bridge is in the front behind the "wall of fans" in the picture.

RE: Good to see finally
By AstroCreep on 7/26/2007 5:58:43 PM , Rating: 4
Seeing as how they're going to be introduced around the 2GHz range, I'd venture to think that the 3GHz is an indication of overclocking ability.

RE: Good to see finally
By Khato on 7/26/2007 6:46:32 PM , Rating: 2
... I'd venture to think that the 3GHz is an indication of large process variation. If they can't get good enough yields beyond 2GHz to introduce higher speed grades, but have the rare chip that can get up to 3GHz... It's certainly not something that I'd be celebrating.

RE: Good to see finally
By Griswold on 7/27/2007 3:45:40 AM , Rating: 4
Maybe you shouldnt mix server processor and desktop processor production quality requirements either.

No, I'm not convinced that we'll see 3GHz phenoms in volumes anytime soon, but its still not the same ballpark as server parts.

RE: Good to see finally
By Brockway on 7/27/2007 7:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
If I remember right, Amd was only having trouble upping the frequency on the server Barcelona processors. The Agena desktop models are expected to ship at 2.6ghz. It doesn't seem that weird that Amd would be able to bin some chips capable of 3ghz. Even if it was an overclock, and Amd was having trouble ramping up the freq, a 2ghz to 3 overclock would be pretty impressive, no?

RE: Good to see finally
By albertdup on 7/27/2007 11:08:51 AM , Rating: 3
Amazing that no one seem to notice that all of that is supposedly running under Vista, consider what pains there is to get SLI working under Vista and this may swing things in a different direction.

Wild guess
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: Wild guess
By Some1ne on 7/26/2007 7:25:16 PM , Rating: 5
I think the fans and huge PSU are primarily there for the 3 huge graphics cards they have crammed in there. If the 2900XT is anything like my 1900XT then not only does it take up lots of space and inhibit good airflow, but it also pulls in a good amount of power and puts out a decent amount of heat as well.

Note that the CPU itself is running with a fairly dinky-looking HSF, which would imply that it is not drawing a huge amount of power or disappating a huge amount of heat.

RE: Wild guess
By Captain Orgazmo on 7/26/2007 8:32:49 PM , Rating: 5
I have a 2900XT. It eats over 200W, at stock speeds. Those 3 consume at least 700W, probably 100-125W for the processor, add in memory and all those fans on the case and whatnot... never mind a 1200W powersupply, they probably have a 4 cylinder honda generator strapped on there too. Hell, they could add wheels and another video card and call it a Four-by-Four.

RE: Wild guess
By anonymo on 7/27/2007 8:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
they probably have a 4 cylinder honda generator strapped on there too. Hell, they could add wheels and another video card and call it a Four-by-Four.

Oh man...that got

RE: Wild guess
By nerdboy on 7/27/2007 8:26:34 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about the processor taking up 100 - 125W, AMD's thing now for processors is power consumption. Plus the heat sink is really small so I don't think the processor takes that much power and I it's not overclocked with that thing. As for the 2900XT's for crossfire they recommend at least a 750W power supply.

They probably have 2 1200W powersupplys connected to two differnt breaks just to power those things. Did you see those fans for that case. With out those you could probably bake an egg inside there.

RE: Wild guess
By TSS on 7/27/2007 8:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
i'd figure that 750 is also with some decent headroom. i would look more at the fan and the heatsink to discover how much watts the cpu uses if it's not known how much power it draws.

and it looks to me to be a 4 heatpipe 80mm fan design. i've got a XP-90 myself with a 92mm fan on it. comparing that to how large it is relative to the memory, seeing as the memory used in the photo's won't be any bigger, means it is absolutely tiny for a stock heatsink, atleast for what you'd expect with the recent speculations.

my guess is that the model on display there is one of the first of a new stepping or something, since it's classified as an engineering sample, though that would depend on how far they are from release. probably the best chips of the wafer too. i'd be willing to bet on 100W under load, though that would be average so AMD will release them with a 120W TDP.

i'll be waiting for the 45nm update though, and see how nehalem fares. hopefully amd will have a smooth transition for once and we can see some real computing :P

By inthell on 7/26/2007 4:58:55 PM , Rating: 5
no benchies what a tease..

RE: benchmarks
By JackPack on 7/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: benchmarks
By James Holden on 7/26/2007 5:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
AMD had two systems out, but the images shown in this article were supplied to media.

RE: benchmarks
By alifbaa on 7/26/2007 5:47:42 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sure that it had four cores. AMD wouldn't just make that up.

Having said that, I too have serious doubts about its stability. Those doubts are only intensified by the way they've continuously back-pedaled on their initial K10 performance plans.

RE: benchmarks
By Oregonian2 on 7/26/2007 7:11:35 PM , Rating: 4
I'm sure that it had four cores. AMD wouldn't just make that up.

Depends upon your comfortableness with AMD's "core competency".


RE: benchmarks
By Kilim on 7/26/2007 8:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
nyuk nyuk nyuk hay-ohhhh!!!!!

RE: benchmarks
By defter on 7/27/2007 2:18:52 AM , Rating: 1
One good question is: did AMD run a benchmark that stressed all cores?

Article mentions that they run games, which usually stress only 1-2 cores. Maybe the system was only stable @ 3GHz with 2 cores loaded? In that case, this wouldn't be a real "3GHz quad core" demonstration.

RE: benchmarks
By murphyslabrat on 7/30/2007 11:17:36 AM , Rating: 1

"AMD revealed the clock speed of the Agena-based processor they showed to the press today yesterday in conference, and clocks in at 3.0GHz

The system that ran quad-core AMD Phenom FX 3.0GHz chip was based on a new RD790 PCI Express 2.0 core-logic from AMD...

In a demonstration designed to prove that Phenom isn't broken, AMD featured a quad-core Phenom X4 processor, with standard cooling, running at 3.0GHz.

I think it is clear, that was an Agena(quad-core)CPU

By Desslok on 7/26/2007 6:57:37 PM , Rating: 3
Holy wall of fans batman!

I would love to know how long that sample lasted. If you need that many fans to keep your case cool then you have a serious heat issues.

Like other posters have said not disclosing the power usage is more than a little worrying.

I hope for competition sake AMD came come to the desktop market strong and give Intel a run for it's money.

By Regs on 7/26/2007 8:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah wow indeed. I'm still trying to figure out why AMD still refuses to show how these things perform or show the slightest bit of proof to back their words. They're not hiding anything from Intel anymore, just the consumer. Why do people fool themselves thinking AMD is hiding information from Intel? A month away from release, there is nothing Intel can do that they all ready haven't done. Intel showed their cards early with Core Duo, what did AMD do for a year? Nothing.

My only reasoning for AMD to tease us is that they want to stir up the consumer base with rumors and rhetoric. Or, the fact that AMD still has issues with the switch to 65nm at least above 2.0 GHz.

By murphyslabrat on 7/30/2007 11:36:41 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah wow indeed. I'm still trying to figure out why AMD still refuses to show how these things perform or show the slightest bit of proof to back their words.

Simple. They start talking real numbers, then people ask why no real numbers before. AMD looks weak with or without numbers, and our only option is to wait till release and see the monster rockage, ridiculous suckage, or probable mediocre...age.

On the "test it for ourselves note", they did say some top-tier OEMS will have it later this week-and you know what that means... leaked benchmarks!

By MonkeyPaw on 7/26/2007 8:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it's pretty likely that it is a standard case. A few manufacturers out there sell models with 4 120mm fans on the side panel.

By Aquila76 on 7/26/2007 11:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
Cooler Master Stacker Evo case has them in that exact config. Probably is that case, judging by the screens and the below NewEgg product shot.

By Anonimous on 7/31/2007 5:02:05 AM , Rating: 4
By jazkat on 7/31/2007 7:01:06 AM , Rating: 2
good im glad someone cleared that up, people always put them down. anotherthing i noticed if you look at the cpu cooler its very small. ok its a bit wider than the standard amd64 cooler and uses heatpipes but its not very tall so id say they have no problem cooling the phenom @ 3ghz.
everyone saying that the case fans are because the cpu needs the cooling is just BS, any pc gamer would know that
the case fans are suplying air for the gfx cards (3), and keeping the air circulated for psu also other components.

What is "ramping the spin" ?
By KingstonU on 7/26/2007 10:49:27 PM , Rating: 3
"We ramped the spin aggressively. It's going to bring the clock frequencies we need for the desktop,"

Could someone enlighten me on what "ramped the spin" means? They redesigned it several times because it wasn't performing as it should? Is that what they tried to do several times with the 2900XTX and still couldn't fix it?

RE: What is "ramping the spin" ?
By Eric Adams on 7/27/2007 8:59:59 AM , Rating: 2
Designing a CPU/GPU/etc. is an iterative process.
When you go from computer simulation to actual silicon, there are still issues that needs to be ironed out.
Each time you send your updated design back to the Fab it's called a respin , so I gather that this means, that the latest spin/revision of Barcelona is ramping/clocking well.

Although "Ramping the spin" sounds more like a segment on The Daily Show.

By paydirt on 7/26/2007 5:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
If you only show a window with the clock frequency, then is it really a demo? I wonder why the article doesn't talk about the actual demo.

RE: Demo?
By Justin Case on 8/3/2007 2:35:18 AM , Rating: 2
Because the person writing the article wasn't actually at the demo.

By Treckin on 7/27/2007 12:15:26 AM , Rating: 3
They had the same case when demoing the 4x4, and another identical case when they first demoed the fast and dirty barcelona a few months ago.

My guess is that AMD is hoping to keep Intel on their toes with this one. The fact that the thing runs at all at 3 ghz is encouraging.
Most likely IMO the Phenom will be quite fast, launching at speed approaching 3 ghz. Its a common misconception that Barcelona is the same as the core in Phenom. Look at the MHZ variance between Xeon and C2D and QX series, its like a 500 mhz difference.

Id say people are sooooo anxious to get information about anything from AMD that would challenge the boys in blue that they are deducing performance ballparks from such inane sources as some PR stunt flashy neon rig.

People would be whining just as much if not more if they had the thing in a recycled EMachines tower on a 600 watt PSU with ISA video and passive cooling.

Just realize that sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

My strongest instinct is that the new architecture performs far better than most assume, and this was an attempt on AMD's part to quell some of the fear and negative hype.

The reason for the DATA compartmentalization and suppression is to restrict the possibility of an adverse reaction by Intel before they can get the thing onto the street. They need this launch to be a hit, as im sure their top guns realize. They want to make sure that intel doesn't initiate a rapid price cut because they were stupid and said that the thing is a great performer at low cost.

Just wait and see. IMHO it will be one bad-ass proc.

RE: Jesus
By Phynaz on 7/27/2007 12:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
You post implies that AMD is sandbagging. In their Q2 conference call AMD basically said they will not have the performace crown this year.

RE: Jesus
By LiptonGreenTea on 7/27/07, Rating: -1
Good.. finally
By sirius4k on 7/27/2007 2:52:28 AM , Rating: 3
I'm a Intel fanboy, but I'm glad to see that AMD's finally getting somewhere :) Hope their doing it right and quicker this time.
( Teasing isn't really a thing to sell :D, unless you're a striper or something :lol: )


Why ???
By crystal clear on 7/27/2007 4:16:04 AM , Rating: 1
The company would not let anyone view the system properties details, but sent the two featured images to press beforehand.

WHY ???-Certainly not because its top secret or the famous excuse about Intel will copy them etc & all the trash !

I am confident they are hiding something(embarassing) from the press/analyst etc.

Doesnt appear to me as genuine test/display of the system !

Note-the slide in the article says its a engineering sample & a 32 bit O.S. .

1) Engineering samples cannot be relied upon - this is not a finished product ready to be shipped to OEMs or retailers.

2)Why not use O.S.64 bit edition ! for display/demonstration purposes.

I am quite sure AMD is well aware about this O.S. plus demonstration tactics/stratergies etc.

If I was there during the display-I would have returned with more doubts/questions/frustrations rather than answers that satisfy me !

Dont sell/convince me on a product on the basis of Engineering samples & on paper.

Sorry comeback to me with something solid & convincing-even better the finished product itself & let me test/check it to convince myself.

RE: Why ???
By Hawkido on 7/30/2007 12:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I would figure the 32-bit OS was used because of the performance issues currently abound in vista 64-bit ATM.

They wanted to hit the max on the vista experience meter.

That would be more the fault of the Vista 64-bit drivers than anything, else as an engineering sample it may not be fully stable at 64-bit 3.0 ghz. either way it is what it is. A 3.0 ghz native quad core running stable (from reports) on a 32-bit OS, with a XXX fire setup.

It seems the Anti-AMD fanboys (not necessarily Intel fanboys) are reading more into this article than the AMD fanboys. Accept it at face value, hope what you will and wait for the next article about the chip (hopefully more mature and closer to a retail product) and see if your hopes are being lived up to.

Don't bash a sample. It seems most of the people flinging poo about this are people who would never buy the product even if it was the best thing in the universe. Seems kinda childish, as this is a teaser demo, and the final product could be completely dissimilar.

Wall of fans
By jeffery on 7/27/2007 9:31:21 AM , Rating: 3
If I am not mistaken, the chassis is a CM Stacker, which comes standard with the side fans. The case is quite a popular one, and not necessarily reflective of Phenom's cooling needs.

Power consumption
By MonkeyPaw on 7/26/2007 6:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
The system used standard cooling, though company officials would not disclose how much power the system consumed.

The same article from the inq has a slightly different picture, one where you can see the system is running on a 1200W power supply. I assume that 1200W is a bit more than they need, but maybe 1000W wasn't enough for the demo? Of course the 2900XTs are consuming most of that power. The relatively small HSF on the K10 is encouraging, but who knows if it would be enough without that sidewall of case fans?

Nice Case
By Slaimus on 7/27/2007 3:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
Slightly off topic, but I wish all cases has this much depth. It sucks that even the high end cases have the hard drive bays getting dangerously close to the graphics card.

Dispelling some of the FUD
By Fritzr on 8/2/2007 11:49:32 AM , Rating: 2

There were 2 systems
Attendees were allowed to shoot photos if they wanted
The 3 graphic cards were connected by bridge
The CPU used a basic HSF Air Cooler
The CPU chips were said to be selected, but not "rigorously selected" for performance

That AnandTech has stock Press Release pics simply says that nobody from Anandtech took pics of the machine and posted them

too much v-card horsepower
By thartist on 7/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: too much v-card horsepower
By TomZ on 7/26/2007 11:44:34 PM , Rating: 3
The "overall" score is the lowest score of all the subsystems its tests. Therefore, we can safely assume that the CPU, memory, disk, video, etc. all scored 5.9.

RE: too much v-card horsepower
By Silver2k7 on 7/29/2007 8:17:49 AM , Rating: 2
Im using a Seagate 7200.10 HDD and its only 5.6. does anyone know if the 7200.11 series will score higher =) ??

The component dragging down the score the most was the Athlon X2 6000+ cpu with a socre of 5.4

don't you think this is X2 6000+??
By jeromekwok on 7/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: don't you think this is X2 6000+??
By RW on 7/27/2007 3:58:16 AM , Rating: 1
HAHAHA good point maybe it really is X2 6000+ and they give it an engineering sample stamp so that nobody would know if it's an X2 or an Phenom CPU

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