AMD Targets Intel with Low-Cost 6-Core Desktop Chip

AMD is rolling out several new desktop processors, including a six-core Phenom II chip priced significantly lower than the lowest-cost Intel Core processor.

Advanced Micro Devices officials have always seen price as a key differentiator in the company's competition with much larger rival Intel.

That mindset can be seen in the latest desktop PC processors unveiled by AMD Sept. 21, one of which is the six-core Phenom II X6 1075 processor. The processor includes AMD's Turbo Core, a power-boosting feature introduced earlier in 2010 that lets users ramp up the speeds on active cores when three or more of the cores in a chip aren't being used.

The Phenom II X6 1075 is priced at less than $250 per shipment of 1,000 chips. By comparison, Intel offers a number of six-core chips, the cheapest of which is the Core i7-970, with a price of $885 for a thousand units, according to Intel's Website.

Click here for a look at upcoming chips from AMD and Intel.

AMD also unveiled two Black Edition chips, which let users more easily overclock the processors when needed. The chips are the quad-core Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition and the Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition.

There also are three new Athlon chips for low-end systems: the dual-core Athlon II X2 265, triple-core Athlon II X3 450 and quad-core Athlon II X4 645. The cheapest of these processors, the Athlon II X2 265, comes in at $76.

AMD's push to undercut Intel's processor prices came into full focus the week of Sept. 13 in San Francisco. While Intel executives were hosting the Intel Developer Forum and introducing the upcoming "Sandy Bridge" microarchitecture, their AMD counterparts were in a nearby hotel suite showing off the "Zacate" APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), which like Sandy Bridge offers compute and graphics capabilities on a single piece of silicon.

In an interview, Bob Grim, director of client platform marketing at AMD, said where his company will have an advantage over Intel is in the systems they're targeting with their new chips. Grim said he expects Sandy Bridge will first appear in high-end PCs, and then cascade down to the midrange and low end over time.

AMD is aiming its Zacate processor at systems in the $500 range, Grim said.

"We're bringing it in at the heart of the mainstream market," he said, adding that the AMD technology will be available to more people more quickly.

Systems with both Sandy Bridge and Zacate are scheduled to begin appear in 2011.