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AMD has something for everyone with its new tri-core processors, but quite a lot is still marked "tentative"

AMD picked up big headlines the day before Intel's Fall Developer Forum with the announcement of its upcoming tri-core processors. 

AMD's original release did not specify if this tri-core processor, code named Toliman, would be a totally new processor or merely a stripped-down version of the existing Agena core. The answer, it appears, is both.

In an embargoed corporate roadmap forwarded to DailyTech, details of these new triple-core oddities came to light.

The first triple-core processor, Toliman, is essentially a core-disabled version of the Agena quad-core processor. It includes a full Agena package, including the 2MB of shared L3 cache, with one core disabled.

Toliman, which will eventually herald the AMD Phenom 8000-product name, is scheduled to launch in February 2008 with mass availability in March.  AMD representatives, speaking on conditions of anonymity, confirmed the initial  2.4 GHz Phenom 8700 and 2.3 GHz Phenom 8600 tri-core processors will launch with a 95W thermal envelope.

In late 2008, AMD will shift almost all of its 65nm quad-core offerings to 45nm.  AMD will then follow up these initial quad-core offerings with 45nm dual-core and triple-core processors in 2009. 

The first of these 45nm tri-core processors, codenamed Heka, will launch with DDR2 and DDR3 support.  However, AMD guidance also details that Heka will ship with two different varieties: one with a shared L3 cache, another without.  All 45nm quad-core AMD processors incorporate shared L3 cache, with the exception of the Propus family processor.

AMD guidance goes on to state that all mainstream Phenom quad-core processors, both with shared L3 cache (Deneb) and without (Propus), shipped in 2009 will feature DDR3 exclusively.  Heka, on the other hand, will feature a mix of DDR2 and DDR3 support.

Unfortunately the answers for tri-core only raise further questions.  While Heka has a unique codename, it seems to be a combination of cut-down Deneb and Propus quad-core processors. The logical conclusion would be that Heka is merely excess or defective Deneb and Propus processors from the 2008 launch. 

Yet AMD's roadmap goes on to detail one more chip: RegorRegor, which has always been described by AMD as a dual-core version of Deneb, will make its debut with variable shared L3 cache and a mix of DDR2 and DDR3 support. Could it be that Regor is a core-disabled version of Heka, which is already likely a core-disabled version of Deneb/Propus?

One AMD representative declined to comment on these 45nm processors, stating that 2009 processor launches and specifications are still "tentitive."


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Is this the road to profitability
By crystal clear on 12/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Is this the road to profitability
By GeorgeOrwell on 12/4/2007 7:06:28 AM , Rating: 1
All AMD is shipping today is buggy chips that really shouldn't even be sent out to mainstream customers. Basic functions of the chip do not work properly.

Even the Barcelona B2 stepping -- which was supposed to boost performance and fix a lot of bugs -- ended up being really buggy itself and offered no performance increase. So there is a B3 stepping in the works that is the B2 bugfix.

Keep in mind that Barcelona, for all intents and purposes a successful prototype design but a failed production design, is being reworked for 2H08. You can call this new Barcelona, B+.

There is no compelling reason to buy Barcelona systems today unless you are an AMD partner and are developing software that takes advantage of a few things in the Barcelona design such as nested page tables (used for virtualization support).

Keep in mind that unless you have a motherboard with split plane power, it is kinda dumb to get any sort of Barcelona system anyway. The chip will not work the way it is intended to work. Barcelona is not backward compatible in any real sense.

Hence, if you need a new system between now and 2H08, Intel is the intelligent choice.


RE: Is this the road to profitability
By Chaser on 12/4/2007 9:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
And what "basic function" is not working on these "buggy" CPUs exactly?

A buggy CPU? Your points seem at least interesting but using the term "buggy" for a central processing unit is quite far fetched if not implying disaster.

I love these slippery slope "therefore go with these guys" pseudo ad campaigns.

I am sure these CPUs will function perfectly and be stable for their intended purpose. As always price/performance should be your primary consideration for you to make your "intelligent choice".


RE: Is this the road to profitability
By TSS on 12/4/2007 9:35:24 AM , Rating: 3
your a few hours behind so it's forgiven:

http://www.techreport.com/discussions.x/13721

AMD's not shipping their barcelona's anymore due to a TLB error. or so the dutch translation reads where i've read it, that was the source. so now their entire product line is grounded, not only the 2,4 ghz, because they all have it.

and even with a stable 2,4ghz, it's not better then an intel yet. and by the time it will be nehalem will be here.

i'm not a fanboy... i buy whichever processor is the best at the moment. i've had a pentium 3, pentium 4 (northwood, 2,53ghz. it was better then the xp's at the time), ahtlon 64 x2 and if i'd buy a new computer right now, it would be an intel. i simply think amd has gone "a bridge too far" with buying ati, releasing a new architecture too soon on a still not mature process (they aren't as good as intel in transitioning manufacturing processes, they need more time) and hoping for high yields.

intel's steaming ahead right now also pumping billions and billions into everything because they can easily afford to. AMD has said they are committed to intel's release scheme of ever increasing complex processors on ever more expensive node processes. they'd have only 2 years to get their R&D back on the previous generation of both.

if AMD is wise right now, they'll slow the hell down and fall back into the underdog position again. they will always have a place in the CPU market, and intel will themselves grind to an halt. their current pace is sure to win them a big market dominance but with the costs going up exponentially to keep moore's law in effect, AMD will be able to catch up eventually. but not if they run themselves aground like this.


By GeorgeOrwell on 12/4/2007 9:32:55 PM , Rating: 1
Thank you for stepping in.

From what I have heard, AMD is in big trouble because they cannot make a reliable chip. AMD's partners have lost a lot of confidence in the AMD management team. It will not be until 2H08 until Barcelona is fully reworked to become Barcelona+, B+, and ready for mass adoption.

AMD did make a very solid design prototype with Barcelona, but years later than they should have. Trying to rapidly patch a design prototype and then rush it into production produces what you see on the market: buggy chips that do not work well. Chips that are so bad you see the stop shipment. Do not be surprised at all to see AMD issuing a recall for all Barcelona chips and giving customers a free replacement. If AMD doesn't do it, expect a mass exodus to Intel.

The problem with the recall is that the motherboard specs also changed based on Barcelona changes. There are quite a few motherboards out there that will not work with all the revisions of Barcelona. This fully messed up compatibility is why you do not see a Tier 1 vendor with mainstream availability of Barcelona-based products.

AMD will be smaller and humbler 8 to 10 months from now when they finally get B+ shipping in volume as the reliable chip it should have been today. But at least there will customer choice and two reasonably decent alternatives in the market.

If the cards play out, AMD may even be part of a much larger company by then, a company more capable of doing the large scale chip design work that AMD is attempting to do. AMD would also benefit from a management team that is more capable of execution vs. focusing on things that don't matter (i.e. dual dual-core vs. native quad-core).

Native quad-core will not matter much for another 10 years, until all existing operating systems have been rewritten for greater parallelism.

Barcelona's design is a case study in mistiming the market.


RE: Is this the road to profitability
By Locutus465 on 12/4/07, Rating: 0
By Locutus465 on 12/4/2007 10:29:50 AM , Rating: 2
doh, meant to reply to chaser, sorry


RE: Is this the road to profitability
By Clauzii on 12/5/2007 12:42:59 AM , Rating: 2
They actually all do ;)

It's just that some erratas are basically non-happening incidents, and therefore not as important as the current AMD one.

Being it in the Level 3 cache is of a far greater concern than a mere listed errata. And the Level 3 cache should have been 2 MB PER CORE, not per CPU :-/..

Especially when it's 10% speed potential lost!

In an already "Lumping Jack Cash", AMD MUST find a cure for their problems soon, or the market ends up with ATI being sold to Intel or something - PURE speculation from my side, though.


By Clauzii on 12/5/2007 12:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the reposting, but 'something' got misplaced. Heres the right text:

They actually all do :)
It's just that some erratas are basically non-happening incidents, and therefore not as important as the current AMD one.

Being it in the Level 3 cache is of a far greater concern than a mere listed errata. Especially when it's ~10% speed potential lost, as of current.

Btw. the Level 3 cache should have been 2 MB PER CORE, not per CPU :-/. Really a shame they have to, maybe, wait for 45nm for to happen.

In an already "Lumping Jack Cash" AMD >must< find a cure for their problems soon.
--

Or the market ends up with ATI probably being sold to Intel or something - PURE speculation from my side, though.


RE: Is this the road to profitability
By Misty Dingos on 12/4/2007 8:32:47 AM , Rating: 3
What I think is the issue with this product line (if you can call it that, they are failures of one sort or another) is that there will be an inherent availability issue. Let me explain.

AMD acknowledges that these are manufacturing errors or quad core processors that just didn't quite make it. So they shut off one of the cores and still sell a three core CPU. Which is smart. They are selling a product and making a profit on something that was normally thrown away as scrap.

But the guys that make the processors are going to keep trying to improve the production process and this will inherently reduce the availability of the three core processors. And hopefully their production process is good enough to produce relatively few of the failed quad core turned three core processors in the first place.

This would lead me to believe that the number of three core processors available should be very limited. If they are limited in number and people want to buy them then that will only drive up prices on them. Then they become artificially expensive and price themselves out of their spot on the market.


RE: Is this the road to profitability
By Targon on 12/4/2007 9:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
The way the processor industry operates is that if there are not enough of the slower products available due to better yields of the higher end products, those perfectly good higher end products are clocked down and sold at the slower speed. This is why overclocking is so easy for certain processors, because so many good high-end chips are clocked down and sold at the slower speeds.

Now, if yields are so good that there is a shortage of tri-core processors, the price of the quad-cores will either come down to the point of eliminating the tri-cores or working quad-core chips may have a core disabled intentionally and sold as a tri-core.

I am waiting on the 2.8GHz and above Phenom processors to see how well they will perform. The extra cores may be nice for newer titles that use multi-threading, but I still like playing too many older games to make the lower clock rate a good thing.


By bradley on 12/4/2007 9:33:34 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah, exactly. This is standard practice in the chipmaking industry, including Intel. AMD is simply trying to maximize their profits based on yields. I'm surprised so many people on a tech savvy site wouldn't realize this.


By Hawkido on 12/4/2007 2:02:51 PM , Rating: 3
I kinda like your post... but you forget one thing.

What if all four cores work at the 2.4 Ghz speed. but 3 of the 4 will run within specs at 2.8 Ghz.

Whould it be smarter to sell it as a 2.4 Ghz Quad Core or as a 2.8 Ghz Tri-Core?

If it is not in a server enviroment, do you really need the extra core...

Plus 3 cores will be more compatible for Xbox 360 ports as the 360 has 3 cores.


Multi cores aren't the solution
By JoeBanana on 12/4/2007 12:07:35 PM , Rating: 3
No average user would use more than 4 cores. Multi cores are just a market move. A much better solution is one faster CPU.

Programs are executed in serial sequence and as such they don't gain much from multi cores. One may argue that we have thread programing. Yes but usually the one part of the program requires data from previous par t of the program.

Though it is true that if your OS supports multi core processors that each core can run a separate application but the average person runs low CPU intensive applications (OOo, MSN, FF, uTorrent, xmms...) which can be executed in serial in real time. But one could get some use in max of four cores at this point.

The fact is that the frequency border has been reached because processors produce too much heat. There is no room in assembly line time. The only real solution then is in next generation materials, new gates, wires...

Of course multi cores are good for specific operations, like servers that give access to hundreds of people.




By amanojaku on 12/4/2007 2:38:41 PM , Rating: 2
That's true for today's programs, but tomorrow's programs might be optimized for multi-threading.

But look at it from another point of view: should I run 60 processes on one CPU or 15 processes per four CPUs for a total of 60? A lot of OS inefficiency is due to the context switching between processes; by adding more processors and an efficient multi-threaded kernel performance might increase. The communication between cores needs to be efficient, as well, otherwise the bottleneck would just be changed from context switching to interprocess communication, which is worse.


RE: Multi cores aren't the solution
By TomZ on 12/4/2007 5:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No average user would use more than 4 cores. Multi cores are just a market move. A much better solution is one faster CPU.

That would only be true if your computer could only run one thread and one process at a time.

In reality, most applications run a number of threads, and those threads in turn rely on operating services (e.g., reading a file) which also run some number of threaeds. So even a single application can keep 2+ cores busy.

And that doesn't even count background processes and device driver threads. For example, there's no reason that incoming and outgoing Etherhet packets can't be processed at a very low level by a different core, thus offloading the core running your "single" app and letting it run a little faster.

I'm running on a bit, but I hope you see my point.


By JoeBanana on 12/5/2007 5:38:44 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it's true that we can run more threads and more processes at a time. But does the average computer user need more than 4 cores.

One core can more than easily take care of all the background processes and also run a few low intensive applications in the background(and as far as I know the average user can be focused on 2-6 programs at the time the rest are sleeping). It's not like an average user will code video on one processor, code sound on other, run server on third, write something in OOo...

The term that if you double CPUs you double your program execution isn't true for an average user. Actually if you change from two core to more you wont even notice the difference.


RE: Multi cores aren't the solution
By Strunf on 12/4/2007 6:49:40 PM , Rating: 2
The application you point out could be run on a P3, so what's the point of having faster CPU for them?
Dual, Quad and more are "meant" to people that need more processing power, like video editing, games and others, this kind of programs can "easily" be multi-threaded.

And ray tracing is in the works which could be a major burden for CPU (and very multi-threaded).


I don’t get the point of this 3 core CPU
By Strunf on 12/4/2007 5:15:57 AM , Rating: 3
People speak of them as a “failed” quad core that instead of being thrown in the bin will be used, but the thing is that if let’s say 10% of the quad cores fail and become triple cores then there won’t be many of them out there to be of any significance and the lack of supply may hinder the image of AMD, if on the other hand AMD is making real triple cores then it’s a waste of money since these production lines could be used to make more quad cores and have them compete with Intel dual cores.
Also in 2009 dual-cores will be the budget CPU, the quad core will be mainstream intermixing with CPU with 8+ cores, that’s what I think Intel is planning to, and I don’t read anything about 4+ cores on the AMD side does that mean will get another 3 (or something) years of desert crossing?

IMO if AMD keeps going this way I don’t see them making a comeback anytime soon. This thing of buying ATI in the end just added another “rival” to AMD, and when a company is already taking a beating better not make more enemies, I could be wrong though and ATI be in the end the key for the AMD revival but as it is AMD will keep getting a beating from both Intel and nVIDIA for the next few years, or at least till the next generations of CPU and GPU see the light.




RE: I don’t get the point of this 3 core CPU
By SlyNine on 12/4/2007 5:24:57 AM , Rating: 3
If yields become that great, then the quad cores will probably sold sub 100$ and end up being the budget CPU, But more then likely they will ramp up clock speeds and yields will remain at around the same ratio as they are now. If Demand becomes that great, AMD could just disable a core and call it a QuadCore anyways. Remember the 2500xp Barton. Its demand was so high that AMD was sailing 3200xp as 2500XP. Either way this is a good thing for the consumer. As well as a way for AMD to make more money off of its defective parts.

The thing to remember is the theme of this is Sale as much as you can, They loose a lot more money throwing bad stuff a way then they would loose remarking a few 4 cores down to 3 cores to meet demand.


RE: I don’t get the point of this 3 core CPU
By SlyNine on 12/4/2007 5:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
I ment to say desable a core and call it tricore.


By SlyNine on 12/4/2007 5:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
ahh, disable.


This is ridiculous
By BSMonitor on 12/4/2007 10:08:40 AM , Rating: 3
Talk about a confusing roadmap.

4-Core's supporting DDR3/DDR2
4-Core's only supporting DDR3
4-Core's with Zero L3 Cache supporting only DDR3
3-Core's with all the above
2-Core's with all the above

Where is the market demand for all these options?

Mostly no L3 cache? These processors already perform weakly, and you are taking the L3 away? They must believe that the L3 is why the things are not scaling well. Remember K6-3 ? Here we are again.

AMD Tri-Core == Joke!
A 2.4GHz Quad barely competes against its own Athlon 6400+ Dual. How can disabling one of the cores make this even a viable choice? Can anyone say E6850 at 3GHz would wipe the floor with it? Not to mention all the 45nm Penryn Duals coming soon.

AMD fanboys: No one is saying that it isn't a good idea for AMD to try and sell those quad-cores with one defective core. The point is, AMD made this huge announcement about how it is some kind of great technological innovation. One that their competitors have no answer for.

It would be like GM selling you a Corvette with only 7 pistons firing in their V8 engines and calling it "the next great innovation from GM, the V7 engine".




RE: This is ridiculous
By Regs on 12/4/2007 11:24:13 AM , Rating: 2
lol. Though I might disagree that the Barc performs as well as a K8, which it does not, I do agree the market for a tri-core will be limited to none.

AMD have seem to take a production centric approach rather than a customer centric approach to marketing. Something most have not seen since the Industrial revolution.

I guess there is more than one way to lose money.


Tricore
By JakLee on 12/4/2007 7:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
I actually am looking forward to when they release these. I am the kind of person who enjoys an oddity and have a feeling that these will be somewhat rare. Depending on pricing I will likely go to this from the single core I am running now.

I do want to point out a slight misconception though. I have seen too many people say a fast single core will crush a slower dual core. That is not always the case. I can take my 3200 (2.2) athlon XP processor & compare it to a dual 3800 x2 (1.8) the athlon is a socket a (478 or whatever) and the x2 is an AM2. There is a HUGE leap in performance in many applications that are only single threaded. The reason being newer features and add on's to the processor, Instructions (like sse for example), and optimizations. If you are near the generation you may be near performance but as the generations pass the performance drifts apart as well. Video cards are more drastic examples of this, but the same principals apply.

I am an amd fan for a variety of reasons and I think this a smart business move. When you advertise you are telling people the "good things" about your company. You don't advertise the things you are bad at; thats just silly. Intel does not have a tri core at this time - is that a bad thing or even a needed thing? Doesn't really matter, AMD will have them and so will advertise the fact. Intel has the performance crown & will advertise the fact. If AMD takes that crown they will advertise that fact. That way they sell more stuff.




By ChipDude on 12/5/2007 12:44:26 AM , Rating: 2
I find it funny AMD is talking about 3 cores when they have a TWO native quad-core designs that they can't ship for volume at the speeds they need to be competitive.

You'd think that it would be more important then push out a 3 core product. Maybe that 3 core product will actually work and be more desirable then a quadcore, how scary is that?

What a company, what management, what marketing, what business prowess.




But, but, but... ?
By Praze on 12/4/2007 8:08:04 AM , Rating: 1
Hey... where's the Intel killer? They must have left it out of their roadmap, silly AMD. Wait until all you Intel fanboy's hear about that one! It's gonna be AWESOME!

P.S. - Who needs to shop around and look at benchmarks when deciding which path to upgrade to? It's all written out so clearly here by AMD, it says "Time to switch to Intel."




More of the same...
By iFX on 12/4/2007 10:50:01 AM , Rating: 1
<<<Toliman, which will eventually herald the AMD Phenom 8000-product name, is scheduled to launch in February 2008 with mass availability in March.>>>

AMD GET WITH THE PROGRAM!




Oh boy...
By sxr7171 on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Oh boy...
By randomwalk16 on 12/4/2007 4:04:22 AM , Rating: 5
I think this is just a tactic to get better yields from its chip manufacturing. If you manufacture a 4 core chip, but one core winds up being unusable, its better to market it as a 3 core chip rather than scrapping it as a loss. Looking at it that way its just good economics.

I might be wrong though, as my chip manufacturing experience is limited...


RE: Oh boy...
By MGSsancho on 12/4/2007 5:45:15 AM , Rating: 2
your are correct. they could also cut up the die if many cores fail and use them for other applications. like for thin client or other embedded devices. cutting up cored or fixing faulty components on the nano-scale are nothing new


RE: Oh boy...
By TomZ on 12/4/2007 4:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that's quite correct. In order to remove a core out of a "quad" and package it separately, it would need its own IO pads that the core itself wouldn't need in the "quad" configuration. Those IO pads are typically in the silicon itself.


RE: Oh boy...
By GeorgeOrwell on 12/4/2007 6:55:06 AM , Rating: 1
This move by AMD will play right into Intel's hands. Intel will be able to offer customers a four core chip at every price point that AMD offers a three core chip.

Because Intel's way of making four core chips is simpler and cheaper than what AMD does, Intel can win the price/performance battle at every single price point.

AMD, in effect, is only inventing more ways to lose vs. Intel.


RE: Oh boy...
By FITCamaro on 12/4/2007 7:46:23 AM , Rating: 5
AMDs quad core's are currently priced very well against Intel's. I would say these triple core CPUs will soon be the same cost as todays highest end dual cores in the AMD line. And dual cores will fall even more in price.

Regardless, we're going to be getting a hell of a value for our money. Not everyone needs the absolute best in performance. I recently built my parents a system with an X2 4200+ that I paid $60 for. Intel doesn't have anything that can touch that. And a 4200+ is more than enough CPU for anything they'll ever do. It might not be as fast as a E6400, but it'll still rip through video encoding pretty quick. My parents could care less if the Intel is 30 seconds faster.


RE: Oh boy...
By Chaser on 12/4/2007 9:35:13 AM , Rating: 3
Excuse me George but what AMD is trying to do operate in the most cost effective manner by maximizing their resources and value. Utilizing and marketing an otherwise wasted CPU that failed a quad core quality check but functions flawlessly as a tri-core I would say is a very efficient use of resources and probably a good idea for a company that has to be very cost conscious under the present circumstances for AMD. Believe it or not AMD does have investors that want to see the operating as efficiently as possible.

Will it pay off for AMD? Time will tell but if the price/performance works well they may sell a few rather than tossing them in the scrap heap. I don't know about you but I want AMD competitive. But the notion of AMD "playing into Intel's hands" rings of wishful fanboi thinking.


RE: Oh boy...
By Manch on 12/4/2007 10:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, thats why I think AMD should sell the Tricores at dual core prices, not try to find and "in between" price and make that price competitive with Intels dual core offerings.

This way while the chip might be ~10% slower than an equivalent priced Intel dual core the extra core will give them the advatage in multitasking and programs that scale well with multiple proccessors. Then AMD can say "Intel gives you two cores, we're giving you 3 for the price of two!" It would make good marketing sense.

Since they are pushing these Tricores they should just abandon dual cores all together. Then they can devote those fabs making dual cores to quadcore manufacturing and use the quads with only 3 functioning cores for their tricore series.

Intel manufactures only dual cores and puts two together to make its quad core. This adds to their huge manufacturing advantage.

AMD has to manufacture two lines, dual and quad. Coupled with their comparitively small manufacturing capability, poor yields, and the fact that they are behind on the move to 45nm proccess it woulld make sense to just move to one line.

If the L3 cache is hurting clock speed I say first how much of a performance difference is there between an L3 equipped and a no L3 equiped proccessor. If the difference is negligible I say good riddance. Get rid of it shrink the die and ramp up the clock speed to make it competitive. Plus shrinking the die means more procs per platter, and that means cheaper procs.


RE: Oh boy...
By TomZ on 12/4/2007 4:36:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
AMD, in effect, is only inventing more ways to lose vs. Intel.

You're right about that. In the end, there seem to be two basic solutions to the core-yield problem:

1. Separately build, test, and the co-package cores or groups of cores ("Intel approach")

2. Build all cores into the design, test, and selectively disable faulty cores and sell them as lower-grade parts ("AMD approach")

It seems to me that the Intel approach is better, not just because it solves the yield problem well, but because you are also building both many/all dual- and quad-core processors from the same silicon design. This improves total overall yield and helps drive cost reduction further than AMD's approach of having totally separate designs.

AMD's approach could be superior if there was a performance gain to be had from the more "pure" architecture, but so far AFAIK there are no benefits to be had.


RE: Oh boy...
By MandrakeQ on 12/5/2007 1:03:45 AM , Rating: 2
AMD lacks the MCM technology to join cores like Intel does. If they did have the means, they would have released quad cores much much earlier.

It makes no sense not to do this financially, as you stated. Eventually, Intel will also have native quad cores, and they may end up releasing a tri-core based on that design.


Three cores?
By Oobu on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Three cores?
By adntaylor on 12/4/2007 4:13:44 AM , Rating: 3
How about if they sell it at the same price as a dual core and it outperforms it? Sounds considerably better for AMD than to just through them away.

Oh, and before any Intel fans get on a high horse about this, Intel has not produced any single core CPUs since 90nm, but they sure have sold a lot of them. Anything in the last year or so that's been called "Celeron" or Core Solo is a dual core die with one core disabled.


RE: Three cores?
By Oobu on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Three cores?
By adntaylor on 12/4/2007 4:25:23 AM , Rating: 2
So, apparently, you would be a "sucker" for buying better performance at the same price? Great logic!!

And are the people buying Core 2 Solo U2200s using just 5.5W in tiny devices with great battery life suckers too, just because one core that won't be used failed validation?


RE: Three cores?
By Oobu on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Three cores?
By SlyNine on 12/4/2007 5:03:46 AM , Rating: 3
Seems to me you're the one calling every one interesting in buying 3 perfectly working cores for a good price , "Suckers". What you fail to understand is that these CPU's are not in any way "Broke"

That's like saying because it didn't validate as a 3.2ghz CPU and its being sold as a 2.5 GHz, its broke. And you're an idiot for buying a 2.5 GHz CPU by your logic.

This kind of thing is common place, AMD will sell more and waste less and consumers will benefit, why you cannot see this is just mind boggling.


RE: Three cores?
By Lonyo on 12/4/2007 5:06:02 AM , Rating: 3
I assume you don't buy graphics cards then? Since half of the lower models have been the high end models with parts deactivated/laser cut.

The idea is hardly new, to disable not working areas of a chip, and then sell it at a lower price. Anyone saying they won't buy one had better not buy a hell of a lot of other things too.


RE: Three cores?
By Oobu on 12/5/2007 2:23:31 AM , Rating: 2
YHBT...


RE: Three cores?
By overzealot on 12/6/2007 5:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and that's why almost every comment you made for this news is rated down. Complete waste of everyone's time, including yours.
Nobody likes a troll.


RE: Three cores?
By Targon on 12/4/2007 8:49:57 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with what you are saying is that you don't look at things from a price/performance perspective. While those looking to buy the fastest machine out there will care, if an AMD quad-core that sells for $250 compares well to an Intel quad-core that sells for $250, then for all intents and purposes, an AMD based machine is just as good as an Intel based machine in that same price range.

I do NOT buy at the top end of the market because the performance benefits just are not worth the extra price. This is why AMD is able to survive, because you can buy a $600 HP computer with an AMD processor that has comparable performance to a $600 HP computer with an Intel processor.

In the case of tri-core processors, who cares if they are the result of one failed core as long as the working three cores perform properly and well.


RE: Three cores?
By ImSpartacus on 12/4/2007 5:01:30 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know about you, but I think a tri-core is a perfect middle ground for those of us that don't want to get bolted down by a dual core, but still respect future products.

I would buy a tri-core processor anyway. It only helps price even better if they use broken quads.

Not all of us can afford that top of the line stuff that survived the gauntlet.


RE: Three cores?
By TomZ on 12/4/2007 5:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you say you would buy one when you have no idea the cost? What if the cost is the same as same speed or faster quad-core Intel part?

There are too many unknowns today to support any kind of buying decision. Unless you're a complete fanboy.


RE: Three cores?
By Alexstarfire on 12/4/2007 5:36:31 PM , Rating: 1
You have no logic my friend. You're comparing of the dead pixels to a broken core is seriously flawed. To make it more accurate it'd be like buying a 19" monitor that used to be a 24" monitor, but since many of the outside pixels failed they decided to just not use the outer 5" of the monitor. Sure, you're paying for a bigger monitor, that wouldn't look very stylish, but if the remaining 19" worked just like a 19" monitor was supposed to, then I don't see what's wrong with that. Of course if that really happened on a monitor then they'd have to sell it cheaper than any 19" monitor, but that's beside the point.


RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 5:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
All the "Problomatic" parts have been disabled, besides remember the celeron 300A? Those were just Pentium 2's with the L2 cache disabled because if defective wafers, still didnt stop Intel from selling them in droves, why? Good performance at the time at a rather cheap price... And they were an over clockers wet dream.

All you're graphics cards, For Instance the Geforce 6200, is basically the Geforce 6600, nVidia just disabled the pipelines, either because they were problematic, or wanted to sell more lower end gear, still gamers didn't really notice the difference in quality or stability.

The product hasn't been broken, more like... Features disabled in order for people who can't afford something better something to buy, And sometimes... They are actually good performance for you're dollar.

AMD sometimes with the Athlon 64, Adjusted Clockspeeds and cache, for instance there is actually several different types of the Athlon 64 3200+ all with different clockspeeds and cache, ADM just used a higher-end part, disabled the problematic cache and sold it off as a lower end part, processor still works fine, stability is still 100% and it benefits the consumer as there is more stock thus more competition and thus more sales and cheaper prices for the consumer.

"If something isn't broke why fix it" -Term apply, they are all working, just lower in specification in order for it to be fully operational.

If there were problems with the processors themselves they would be recalled, (Like the Pentium 3 1.13ghz back in the day).


RE: Three cores?
By wetwareinterface on 12/4/2007 9:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
actually the celeron 300a was nowhere near a pentiumII with cache disabled. the pentium II had the l2 cache running at half the cpu frequency because it was external to the die. it was 4 way set assosciative also. the celeron cache was internal to the die, ran at cpu frequency, and was 8 way set assosciative. it was a precursor to the pentium III "coppermine". the coppermine upped the cache ante by going 16 way set assosciative and having 4 times as much cache as the celeron 300a. the 300a also had 2 cache areas, one was always disabled to improve yields. it looked like the 300a was going to be the pentium III but intel decided to go a different route and reuse the pII manufacturing process to extend the life of the process and make more money off it. later they redid the pIII as the coppermine and just basically bumped up the celey specs to the coppermine ones.


RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 9:46:42 AM , Rating: 2
The Precursor to the Coppermine was the Katmai, not the Pentium 2 Destchue
And the early Celerons had no Cache.


RE: Three cores?
By Pneumothorax on 12/4/2007 9:20:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
All the "Problomatic" parts have been disabled, besides remember the celeron 300A? Those were just Pentium 2's with the L2 cache disabled because if defective wafers, still didnt stop Intel from selling them in droves, why? Good performance at the time at a rather cheap price... And they were an over clockers wet dream.

The 300A's were the "wet dream" of oc'ers. BUT you're mentioning the original Celeron 266/300. Which basically was a PII cartridge without the L2 external half core speed cache. The Celeron 300 A actually came out with an on die full speed L2 cache which preceded the Pentium 3 which finally integrated an on die L2 cache in later revisions.


RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 9:54:53 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I realized that error after I posted, cheers for clearing it up :) Even the origional Celerons with no L2 cache were excellent overclockers though.
And it was the Covington Celerons with no L2 cache which were the Pentium 2 Deschutes derivatives, not the Mendocino.

Still, that wasn't the point of my earlier post.


RE: Three cores?
By Vinnybcfc on 12/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 6:19:23 AM , Rating: 2
Thats not always accurate though, it gets more complicated when you factor in that a More expensive Single core can outperform a really cheap dual core.


RE: Three cores?
By Jacerie on 12/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Three cores?
By Targon on 12/4/2007 8:56:46 AM , Rating: 2
That is not a correct assessment of how things work when it comes to additional cores. A big factor is how the cores talk to each other, and how well the cache is used between the cores. In the case of cores and multi-threaded applications, the more cores you have will allow for a better distribution of program threads between the cores.

When it comes to memory or other components, there are technical reasons why you see increases that follow the binary increments, but in this case, you just have an extra core that the OS can assign threads to.

The real problem that AMD needs to address is getting clock speeds up, since single-threaded applications will still run on only one core, and a 2.4GHz Phenom quad-core will probably run a single-threaded application slower than a 2.8GHz Athlon 64 X2(depending on what other applications are running at the same time).


RE: Three cores?
By DM0407 on 12/4/2007 9:11:17 AM , Rating: 2
Can we expect similar real world performance from a tri-core?

Unless your running multiple programs at once, the computer would not be able to take advantage of all 4 cores, with the same L3 Cache as a 4 core, and most programs designed to run on two cores (if that), couldn't a chip like this run with little to no noticeable difference?

Especially in current gen games, there most likely would be no difference in a similarly clocked tri/quad core chip. We'll see when they get some reviews done.

All the benefit of the technology, larger cache, lower price. I would buy it! Hell if you guys don't want it, that will only drive the price down more. Cheaper for me!

In the meantime, AMD has now become the largest manufacturer of paper and ink....


RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 8:21:52 AM , Rating: 1
Because I was rated down, I gather any Dual core processor can beat the fastest Single core?


RE: Three cores?
By FITCamaro on 12/4/2007 9:20:35 AM , Rating: 2
In a single threaded task yes. But in a multithreaded task, your single core would have to be at double the clock speed of the dual core assuming the cores between the dual core and the single have the same efficiency.

But a 2GHz dual core is generally going to beat a 2.5GHz single core processor when running an application that will fully utilize both cores as much as possible as it would the single core.


RE: Three cores?
By mindless1 on 12/4/2007 10:11:51 AM , Rating: 2
Which is never the case. Few if any fully utilize both cores and further, few if any buyers replace all their apps with a CPU purchase.

The single core would almost never have to be at double the clock speed as the dual.

For practical purposes we can ignore all this, the primary focal point is the price. Only when the budget is high enough that this budget stretches beyond the reasonable cost-effective ceiling clock speed a single core of any era can run at, does it become uniformly advantageous to use two or more slower cores. Since clock speed is not infinite and a budget can easily stretch beyond a single core clockspeed ceiling, dual cores began to make sense and now that price point is around $85.


RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 10:21:36 AM , Rating: 2
Its a similar thing with SLI though, adding another GPU/Core does not Yield double the performance, as there is always going to be inefficiency's somewhere along the lines.

So you would be incorrect in assuming Twice the clock speed of a single core = a dual core.


RE: Three cores?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/4/2007 10:19:06 AM , Rating: 2
So then, find a benchmark where an Athlon X2 beats out an Athlon FX, of the same generation.
Because:
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2005/06/27/amd_fx...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2005/06/27/amd_fx...
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/amd_athlon_64_...
http://www.amdboard.com/athlon_64_3800_review_6.ht...
Seems the FX 57 single core manages to beat the Athlon 64 X2 4800+.
And the FX chippys have an un-locked multiplier which allows for more overclocking headroom.

So it seems the dual-cores don't win in every circumstance even when a program is multi-threaded.


RE: Three cores?
By Vinnybcfc on 12/4/2007 2:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
I agree just posters like Oobu cant seem to get into their heads that a triple core is not a pointless processor.

A faster triple core can beat a quad core processor.

It all comes down to what these will be priced at in relation to dual cores and quad cores.


RE: Three cores?
By Dactyl on 12/4/2007 2:38:48 PM , Rating: 1
If fast tri-cores outperform sluggish quad cores, that will only make Oobu hate them even more.

Posters like Oobu aren't concerned about practicalities. They cling to a weird belief that CPUs should be "perfect."

These are the people who hated Core 2 Quad because it wasn't native. Now, they have a new CPU to hate, because it doesn't meet their ideological standards.

There's not much you can do for them. Just smile, nod, downrate them, and move on.


RE: Three cores?
By Oobu on 12/5/2007 2:25:42 AM , Rating: 2
I love posting flamebait here. It gets you guys so worked up.


Kind of goofy
By Samus on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Kind of goofy
By Oobu on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Kind of goofy
By adntaylor on 12/4/2007 4:28:22 AM , Rating: 3
No it's not.... because you needed to use those pixels, and without it your screen looks rubbish. With three cores, your CPU still can run more threads in parallel than a dual core.

And you must really hate cache designers for putting lots of redundancy into their designs so that a few dead transistors don't render the whole CPU unusable.


RE: Kind of goofy
By Oobu on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Kind of goofy
By bupkus on 12/4/2007 4:49:17 AM , Rating: 5
Cause it's cheaper?


RE: Kind of goofy
By SlyNine on 12/4/2007 5:08:12 AM , Rating: 5
How is it you can compare 4 cores to 3 cores, but not 3 cores to 2 cores,. YOU'RE NOT PAYING FOR 4CORES. You are paying for 3 and you are getting what you paid for.


RE: Kind of goofy
By bupkus on 12/4/2007 5:19:44 AM , Rating: 3
Regardless of whether a core or cache is disabled/isolated because either yields are too high or because yields are low (meaning a core doesn't perform to standards) purchases never perfectly match yields.
Your view that something although functionally equivalent but invisibly different is "broken" is sophomoric. I am certain before the 4 core cpu was even designed that the issues of yield was discussed resulting in a design whereby an isolated 4 to 3 product performed the same with the same power usage as a pure 3 core product.
No product made anywhere is identical to its sibling. Each is slightly different than the other with a statistically definable variance. By your definition, if an item isn't a perfect duplicate of a prototype it would be "broken".


RE: Kind of goofy
By Targon on 12/4/2007 9:02:26 AM , Rating: 2
If a quad-core processor with one failed core is sold as a three core processor, and the failed core is invisible to the OS and is not used, then there is nothing wrong with that since the price will be lower.

You would not see AMD selling a three core processor as a quad-core processor that is slower, so it really would be a three core processor from your perspective, and no harm is done. Price vs. performance is the key here. You don't see people complaining because a 1.8GHz quad-core processor runs slower than a 2.4GHz quad-core processor. As long as the tri-core processors are priced lower than the quad-cores, then it's all good.


RE: Kind of goofy
By kamel5547 on 12/4/2007 11:26:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why even bother with a two core if there are four cores


By the same logic why buy anything but the fastest most expensive CPU. After all a lower clocked CPU is by your example "just" a defective version of the top of the line CPU. In fact its likely it simply wasn't stable enough to run at the fastest speed.

You pick a performance or price point and get what you want at that point. By your logic we should all be shelling out $5K for our PC's, even if what we really wanted to do is browse the internet and do a little word processing (which a single core CPU would be able to handle).


RE: Kind of goofy
By Shlong on 12/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: Kind of goofy
By amanojaku on 12/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Kind of goofy
By TomZ on 12/4/2007 4:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, since after all, we know a lot of companies that make a lot of money selling garbage. :o)


RE: Kind of goofy
By amanojaku on 12/5/2007 12:33:30 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't mean the single, dual, or tri-cores themselves were garbage. They might be defective as quad-cores, but perfectly fine with less cores and the dysfunctional one turned off. Kind of how you make soup stock from discarded vegetable or chicken parts.


RE: Kind of goofy
By Clauzii on 12/5/2007 12:27:42 AM , Rating: 2
Why the h... did that get downrated?


RE: Kind of goofy
By Mitch101 on 12/4/2007 9:36:48 AM , Rating: 5
GPU's do this all the time. Those ones without a complete set of pipelines as the top end GPU being sold. But they are not dysfunctional. By your logic the 8800GT would be a dysfunctional GPU. That is not the case.


RE: Kind of goofy
By JonnyDough on 12/5/2007 7:09:15 PM , Rating: 1
Technically, AMD and Intel have done this before as well, with disabled caches. What do you think the Dual Core Pentiums are?


RE: Kind of goofy
By Omega215D on 12/4/2007 3:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
Then why don't you say the same about processors that were clocked lower since they couldn't meet the stability requirements when clocked higher?


RE: Kind of goofy
By Regs on 12/4/2007 8:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
weird. I enter the article and for some reason I auto rated you -1. Must be a glitch in the system. Though by posting this takes that away I hope.


RE: Kind of goofy
By Clauzii on 12/4/2007 10:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm, so I'm not alone with funny rating-clicks sometimes.

I click once, but it counts twice - and no, my mouse ain't broke, just in case... :)


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