AMD rolls out five additions to its family of Phenom II processors, including tri-core and quad-core processors. The new Phenom II processors are part of AMD's platform for gaming desktops, code-named Dragon, but could have enterprise uses. AMD is putting its high-speed, energy-efficient Phenom II chips up against Intel's Core 2 Duo chips.
CES event in January, AMD released the Phenom II X4 940 and X4 920
processors as part of its "Dragon" platform, which also includes ATI
Radeon graphics. The X4 940 has a clock speed of 3GHz, while the X4 920 has a
speed of 2.8GHz.
AMD is touting the speed and energy
efficiency of the new Phenom II chips, which range from the X3 710 (2.6GHz) and
the X3 720 "Black Edition Processor" (2.8GHz) to the X4 805 (2.5GHz),
X4 810 (2.6GHz) and the X4 910 (2.5GHz).
Announced prices include $145 for the X3 720 Black Edition Processor and
$175 for the X4 810 processor, both of which are being boxed and sold as
In addition to supporting newer DDR3
(double data rate 3) memory, the Phenom II processors will work with DDR2,
in a move designed to give AMD's existing
The new processors could prove useful for power-intensive enterprise
functions, as well.
"In this market, [the enterprise] doesn't get the rapid adoption you
see in the consumer side," Dean McCarron, an analyst with Mercury
Research, said in an interview. "What I would expect to see happen is
corporate clients looking at this technology as the next major refresh
opportunity. The next refresh happens right around April, so we'll probably see
it show up in June or July."
The Phenom II represents "a significant improvement in the level of AMD's
competitiveness, and anything that improves their position is a good
thing," McCarron said.
The chip also plays into AMD's
longer-term road map.
"We expect Phenom II to be in the market for awhile," Bob Grim,
senior marketing manager of consumer product for AMD,
said in an interview. "If you've seen the frequencies that we've seen, we
can overclock at over 6[GHz]-this shows we have a lot of headroom, so we can
scale significantly over time."
One factor in the Phenom II's ability to overclock is
its energy efficiency; Grim claimed the processors use 50 percent less power
than previous versions. "We're seeing a transition in the marketplace to
sleekness and energy efficiency," he said. "Smaller is becoming more
important; energy efficiency is more important. Over time we'll be developing
more energy-efficient parts that can fit into sleeker parts."
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.