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New Phenom triple-core processor coming in 2008

AMD today updated its roadmap with another multi-core processor, to slot between its dual and quad-core processors – Phenom triple-core processors. The new Phenom triple-core processors feature three processing cores on a single die and based on AMD’s Barcelona architecture, which launched last week in Opteron form.

The new triple-core processors will feature similar specifications as its upcoming Phenom X2 and X4 brethren. The Socket AM2+ processors feature 512KB of L2 cache for each core and a shared pool of L3 cache. Essentially, the Phenom triple-core processors are quad-core variants with one core disabled. This allows AMD to simply disable one core on quad-core dies for maximum use of a single wafer.

AMD claims to be the only company to offer tri-core processors, which the company claims to bring “true multi-core technology to a broader audience.” AMD has not given the Phenom triple-core processors an official name yet. However, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the tri-core processors followed the current Phenon naming scheme and received the Phenom X3 name.

“With our advanced multi-core architecture, AMD is in a unique position to enable a wider range of premium desktop solutions, providing a smarter choice for customers and end users,” said Greg White, vice president and general manager, Desktop Division, AMD. “As a customer-centric company, AMD is committed to working with our OEMs to deliver compelling value propositions across their multi-core product families with capabilities that address their requirements and aspirations.”

Features unique to AMD’s Barcelona and Stars architectures such as split power planes and dynamic independent core speed adjustments remain supported on triple-core processors. Additionally, AMD Phenom triple-core processors support HyperTransport 3.0 for up to 16GB/second of I/O bandwidth.

AMD claims significant performance gains over dual-core processors with its triple-core processors in benchmarks such as SYSmark 2007 and 3DMark06, where gaming and digital content creation performance is key.

“A continued commitment to elegant design and innovative processor architecture is instrumental to revolutionizing the technology industry,” said Richard Shim, research manager for IDC's Personal Computing program. “The advent of triple-core processors is a valuable market opportunity for customers to deliver end users compelling solutions and further differentiate on the desktop.”

Expect AMD to launch its Phenom triple-core processors in Q1 2008. AMD plans to launch its quad-core Phenom X4 next quarter.

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bad quad core = tri-core
By michal1980 on 9/17/2007 11:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
could this be marketing spin saying hey, our 4 core cpu's sometimes have a dead core, lets sell them at 3?

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By ghostbuster on 9/17/2007 11:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
For AMD's sake I hope that their yields are good enough so that they don't get that many chips with a dead core to justify launching a new product line. I think it's more likely that by turning off the slowest core they can hit higher clocks and to AMD that might make more business sense than selling sub-2GHz quad-cores.

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By z3R0C00L on 9/18/2007 11:59:40 AM , Rating: 2
If they're releasing a whole sku that will be dependent on one core being defective then you've got your answer. Many cores are probably defective.

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By Goty on 9/18/2007 12:26:13 AM , Rating: 4
That same gameplan has worked for the GPU industry for the last five years or so, why not apply it to the CPU market?

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By Alpha4 on 9/18/2007 2:14:02 AM , Rating: 3
Sony & IBM have already implemented that practice with the Cell. They stated expected yields of around 20% loss with 8-core chips so they marketed the Cell as a 7 core Processor.

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By imperator3733 on 9/18/2007 11:12:54 AM , Rating: 2
You mean 7 SPE processor, right? (1 PPE + 8 SPEs as designed vs. 1 PPE + 7 SPEs in PS3)

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By Alpha4 on 9/18/2007 2:33:18 PM , Rating: 2
Definitely yes, you're right. 7 Synergistic processor elements or whichever as opposed to 8.

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By FITCamaro on 9/18/2007 6:50:53 AM , Rating: 3
Pretty much. Its not a bad move either. I mean with them having a native quad core architecture, they're going to have chips where one core is bad. So instead of just throwing those chips out or disabling another core to make a dual core, they're going to sell them as a tri-core processor. Gives them another product to sell and they can sell it for slightly more than a dual core.

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By FastLaneTX on 9/18/2007 11:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
Those who do not remember history...

Intel made gobs of processors that were supposed to be 486DXs. Some had a bad FPU and were sold as 486SX; others had a bad CPU and were sold as 487SX. Intel and AMD have refined that practice to making all their processors with the maximum amount of cache and selling the ones that partially failed validation as reduced-cache variants. Same thing they do with speed-binning.

So apparently AMD's model of a "native" quad-core chip has resulted in some that only have three working cores. Better to sell them than throw them away, right? They can price them low, and gain marketshare, because it's basically free money. It's not as big a deal for Intel today since they only make two cores per chip, but I bet you'll see the same from them once they go native. We'll be seeing 5- to 7-core chips from AMD soon after they ship a native 8-core.

RE: bad quad core = tri-core
By johnsonx on 9/18/2007 12:09:26 PM , Rating: 3
others had a bad CPU and were sold as 487SX.

Sorry, but that's wrong. The 487 'math co-processor' was a complete logical replacement for the on-board 486SX; for all intents and purposes, a 487 was actually a 486DX. Once you installed it, the 486SX became dormant. So naturally, there couldn't be any defects in the 487 core or it wouldn't work.

Intel and AMD have refined that practice to making all their processors with the maximum amount of cache and selling the ones that partially failed validation as reduced-cache variants.

Also incorrect. While that does occur, it is completely incorrect to say they make 'all' their processors that way. In reality very few are made that way, as it would be extremely wasteful of wafer space, and therefore money.

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