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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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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.


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