AMD Hits a Triple

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-09-18 Print this article Print

for Desktops"> In the hours leading up to the 2007 Intel Developer Forum, Advanced Micro Devices is offering some additional details of its upcoming desktop road map, including a glimpse at a tri-core processor for high-end PCs. AMD, which offered a glance at its new line of Phenom desktop processors in May, announced Sept. 17 that it will add a three-core processor to that lineup and that its first quad-core desktop processors will ship in December. The first of AMDs tri-core processors is expected to launch in the first half of 2008.
This tri-core processor, which will likely be marketed under the name Phenom X3, is geared toward gamers, PC enthusiasts and the high end of the desktop space. The three-core processor is meant to appeal to those looking for a desktop processor that offers more performance than a dual-core chip but at a price that is below the upcoming quad-core model, according to Simon Solotko, a desktop brand marketing manager in the Sunnyvale Calif., companys Desktop Division.
"These triple-core processors are meant to satisfy the sophisticated needs of multitaskers who are also budget conscious," Solotko said. "Its the way to get the most performance out of a processor for a user who also has budgetary constraints. It will be priced below the quad-core Phenom processor, but it will offer greater performance than the performance offered by the current Athlon and Sempron products." Read here eWEEKs interview with AMD CEO Hector Ruiz. Part of the problem of selling a triple-core processor is overcoming the fact that both Intel and AMD chips have usually been developed in multiples of two. After years of single-core models, both companies began introducing dual-core and then quad-core models, with octo-core processors expected by the end of the decade. AMD is able to produce a processor with three cores, Solotko said, because of the design it settled on for its new quad-core model, which allows the company to "natively" place four processing cores on a single piece of silicon. Since the companys manufacturing facilities are now designed for this type of chip, Solotko said, AMD can move from two, to three, to four cores without having to radically alter the basic design. By contrast, Intels quad-core design ties two dual-core packages together on the same die. The Santa Clara, Calif., company does plan to move toward incorporating four cores onto one piece of silicon within the next few years. Solotko said the companys Direct Connect Architecture also helped engineers move from a dual-core design to tri- and quad-core designs. Direct Connect Architecture is the marketing name for a chip design that allows improved memory and bandwidth by directly connecting the memory and I/O to the CPU. This design also allows for the CPUs to be connected to one another. For its part, Intel uses a traditional FSB (front-side bus) design to connect the CPUs, memory and I/O. Page 2: AMD Hits a Triple for Desktops


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