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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.

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