AMD Tri-core Processor Details for 2008 and 2009
December 4, 2007 2:56 AM
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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
, would be a totally new processor or merely a stripped-down version of
. The answer, it appears, is both.
In an embargoed corporate roadmap forwarded to
, details of these new triple-core oddities came to light.
The first triple-core processor,
, is essentially a core-disabled version of the
quad-core processor. It includes a full
package, including the 2MB of shared L3 cache, with one core disabled.
, 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
, will launch with DDR2 and DDR3 support. However, AMD guidance also details that
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
AMD guidance goes on to state that all mainstream Phenom quad-core processors, both with shared L3 cache (
) and without (
), shipped in 2009 will feature DDR3 exclusively.
, on the other hand, will feature a mix of DDR2 and DDR3 support.
Unfortunately the answers for tri-core only raise further questions. While
has a unique codename, it seems to be a combination of cut-down
quad-core processors. The logical conclusion would be that
is merely excess or defective
processors from the 2008 launch.
Yet AMD's roadmap goes on to detail one more chip:
which has always been described by AMD as a dual-core version of
, will make its debut with variable shared L3 cache and a mix of DDR2 and DDR3 support. Could it be that
is a core-disabled version of
, which is already likely a core-disabled version of
One AMD representative declined to comment on these 45nm processors, stating that 2009 processor launches and specifications are still "tentitive."
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RE: Is this the road to profitability
12/4/2007 9:08:41 AM
The way the processor industry operates is that if there are not enough of the slower products available due to better yields of the higher end products, those perfectly good higher end products are clocked down and sold at the slower speed. This is why overclocking is so easy for certain processors, because so many good high-end chips are clocked down and sold at the slower speeds.
Now, if yields are so good that there is a shortage of tri-core processors, the price of the quad-cores will either come down to the point of eliminating the tri-cores or working quad-core chips may have a core disabled intentionally and sold as a tri-core.
I am waiting on the 2.8GHz and above Phenom processors to see how well they will perform. The extra cores may be nice for newer titles that use multi-threading, but I still like playing too many older games to make the lower clock rate a good thing.
RE: Is this the road to profitability
12/4/2007 9:33:34 AM
Yeah, exactly. This is standard practice in the chipmaking industry, including Intel. AMD is simply trying to maximize their profits based on yields. I'm surprised so many people on a tech savvy site wouldn't realize this.
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