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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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Tricore
By JakLee on 12/4/2007 7:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
I actually am looking forward to when they release these. I am the kind of person who enjoys an oddity and have a feeling that these will be somewhat rare. Depending on pricing I will likely go to this from the single core I am running now.

I do want to point out a slight misconception though. I have seen too many people say a fast single core will crush a slower dual core. That is not always the case. I can take my 3200 (2.2) athlon XP processor & compare it to a dual 3800 x2 (1.8) the athlon is a socket a (478 or whatever) and the x2 is an AM2. There is a HUGE leap in performance in many applications that are only single threaded. The reason being newer features and add on's to the processor, Instructions (like sse for example), and optimizations. If you are near the generation you may be near performance but as the generations pass the performance drifts apart as well. Video cards are more drastic examples of this, but the same principals apply.

I am an amd fan for a variety of reasons and I think this a smart business move. When you advertise you are telling people the "good things" about your company. You don't advertise the things you are bad at; thats just silly. Intel does not have a tri core at this time - is that a bad thing or even a needed thing? Doesn't really matter, AMD will have them and so will advertise the fact. Intel has the performance crown & will advertise the fact. If AMD takes that crown they will advertise that fact. That way they sell more stuff.




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