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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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Why AMD is doing this
By Justin Case on 9/18/2007 2:08:49 AM , Rating: 5
Why is AMD selling 3-core CPUs?

The short answer: because they can.

The slightly longer answer: because they can and Intel can't.

AMD's Barcelona / Phenom has trouble scaling beyond a certain speed, but yields are actually pretty good at the speeds that work. Sure, if a 4-core CPU has one dead core, they can sell it as a 3-core CPU, but most 3-core Phenoms will be perfectly functional 4-core models with one core deliberately disabled.

This lets AMD sell a product that Intel can't (Intel's design can do 2 or 4 cores, but doing 3 would require a lot of changes), at a price point somewhere between dual and quad-core CPUs.

If a 3 GHz dual-core costs $200 and a 3 GHz quad-core costs $1000, anyone with, say, $500 to spend on a CPU is going to buy the $200 model (and either keep the rest or spend it on other components). That's $300 less in profit for the CPU manufacturer. So the smart move is to add a $500 model to your lineup. That can be a very slow quad-core model (which will only perform well in servers, so home users won't buy it), a very fast dual-core model (which they can't make) or... a model with 3 cores.

This is something that GPU makers have figured out a long time ago: the more models you can put out without increasing production costs, the higher your profits will be.

RE: Why AMD is doing this
By GeorgeOrwell on 9/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Why AMD is doing this
By Justin Case on 9/18/2007 6:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you hate our troops?

RE: Why AMD is doing this
By TomZ on 9/18/2007 8:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you hate our troops?

So this is the kind of PC BS rhetoric we have to hear any time anybody mentions something even remotely related to the military? I got an earful of this kind of crap in another thread from someone else, and it's way off-base.

OK, let me explain to you what the OP meant, although I think it is pretty obvious. The Vietnam War was considered by most to be a political and/or military failure for America. It went on for years and cost many lives and much money. The analogy is to some of AMD's products that are running late and putting AMD in the hole to develop, and the OP is expressing some concern that the performance may not be worth what has been spent, possibly relating to recent mediocre benchmarks.

Nobody is saying they "hate our troops"? Clear?

RE: Why AMD is doing this
By Justin Case on 9/18/2007 10:53:32 PM , Rating: 1
Are you just being an asshole as usual, or do you really have no concept of sarcasm? Why don't you go back to your hobby of rating down people's posts on unrelated threads? It's also lame, but at least it generates less HTML.

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