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
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
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.