AMD Triple-Core Phenoms Announced - HotHardware
AMD Triple-Core Phenoms Announced

AMD Triple-Core Phenoms Announced

As previously rumored AMD has officially announced triple-core Phenom processors, just now in a breaking new release... 

AMD Adds Multi-Core Triple Threat to Desktop Roadmap

Offering unique performance and value to customers, AMD Phenom(tm) triple-core processors to complete a broader multi-core portfolio...

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Sept. 17, 2007 - Delivering a multi-core triple threat, AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the addition of AMD Phenom(tm) triple-core processors to its desktop roadmap. AMD Phenom triple-core processors, expected to be the world's first PC processors to integrate three computational cores on a single die of silicon, can help deliver the visual experience, performance and multitasking capabilities of true multi-core technology to a broader audience. Offering state-of-the-art platforms and a next-generation architecture with expected availability in Q1 2008, the industry's only x-86 triple-core desktop processor shows why AMD's the smarter choice, with its expanded portfolio for customers to offer platforms with unique multi-core options. AMD Phenom quad-core processors remain on schedule to ship in 2007.

die_shot.png"With our advanced multi-core architecture, AMD is in a unique position to enable a wider range of premium desktop solutions, providing a smarter choice for customers and end users," said Greg White, vice president and general manager, Desktop Division, AMD. "This innovation is a direct result of our development of the industry's first true, native quad-core design, coupled with AMD's manufacturing flexibility, to create multi-core processors in two, three, and four computational core configurations on a single die of silicon. As a customer-centric company, AMD is committed to working with our OEMs to deliver compelling value propositions across their  multi-core product families with capabilities that address their requirements and aspirations."

AMD Phenom processors with three cores are a response to demand for increased performance delivered by multi-core processors when running state-of-the-art applications. According to Mercury Research, quad-core processors represented less than two percent of desktop shipments in Q2 2007. AMD believes this suggests a need for a wider selection of multi-core solutions. Triple-core AMD processors may stimulate broader multi-core adoption with a product family that scales to more points-of-entry for the customer.

      "Microsoft is excited to see AMD creating new technologies like the AMD Phenom triple-core processors," said Bill Mitchell, corporate vice president of the Windows Hardware Ecosystem at Microsoft Corp. "We see potential for power and performance improvements through triple-core processing in the industry and are exploring with AMD the possibility of taking advantage of this in the Microsoft family of products."

The true multi-core design of the upcoming AMD Phenom processor family of products, based on Direct Connect Architecture, features an integrated memory controller, accelerating performance for productivity, content creation, entertainment, and gaming. In addition, this next-generation architecture includes AMD's Balanced Smart Cache for rapid access to memory, with a shared L3 cache for leading-edge performance on multi-threaded software. With HyperTransport(tm) 3.0 and up to 16 GB/second of high bandwidth I/O, upcoming AMD Phenom processors are designed for the ultimate visual experience with amazing HD video and gaming resolutions, as well as high-speed disk and network interfaces. In addition, Cool'n'Quiet(tm) 2.0 technology enables independent frequency adjustments to each processor core, and the HyperTransport bus and memory controller for a cooler and quieter PC.

AMD Phenom triple-core processors are expected to deliver increased performance for multitasking usage models and multi-threaded applications, aligned with similar benefits available with the upcoming AMD Phenom quad-core processors. In addition, triple-core processors from AMD can provide significant performance advantages over similar dual-core AMD processors in key industry standard benchmarks, including SYSmark® 2007 and 3DMark(tm) 2006, as well as similar quad-core AMD processors in certain gaming and digital content creation scenarios.

The triple-core is an interesting and potentially compelling offering from AMD to be sure.  While the term symmetric multi-processing (or SMP) could suggest a balanced approach of multiple cores, in an even number of engines, working together on a single workload, AMD offers that an odd number of processors can slice at that workload as well, just as efficiently.  Time will tell how this architecture will scale amongst various multi-threaded applications and if having a third core offers measurable gains in real-world usage models.  Likely, any truly multi-threaded app will efficiently utilize the additional processing resources, though an even number of cores on a chip is much more commonplace these days.  Regardless, in this scenario the question becomes one of price-point and performance-per-watt.  What do you think about this new addition to AMD's arsenal?  Dual-core, triple-cores and quad-cores now at your disposal, which would you choose?

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It seems obvious the real reason for this addition to their lineup is to be able to use those quad-core processors with one problematic core - a way to keep yields up even when you're having issues.

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From one of our contacts at AMD - in case anyone was really questioning this...

"The triple-core processor die is identical to the upcoming AMD Phenom processor die."

In other words, it's a quad-core with one core disabled, for sure.

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A few hours after the news item "AMD To Release Tri-Core CPUs? broke on September 15, I posted this comment on the forum:

"AMD seems to be having its back to the wall for about a year or so now that any avenue for possible comeback bids is welcome news to those of us who do not wish to see a complete Intel stranglehold on x86 business with all of its dire consequences.

AMD should lose no time getting samples of this tri-core off its fabs and show the world what it can do.

Come to think of it, this could be the advantage of AMD's having done a native quad-core -- so that it could now do a tri-core quickly without any ready response from Intel."

It’s satisfying to note that after waiting so long for a less-than-awesome Barcelona that we could be pleasantly surprised by the quick announcement of its sequel. While the jury's still out on the merits of AMD's issuing a triple-core, what this means is that a hungry company, especially one with the track record and caliber of AMD, is too dangerous a competitor to underestimate.

And I believe the best is yet to come. It may be true that the present triple-core is merely a quad with a disabled core, but how far are the folks at AMD from actually taking out one core from its design in order to add components that would give greater value and better functionality to this triple-core? My guess is that they have such a trick up their sleeves -- a precursor to Fusion, probably.

Battered but not beaten and ready for the counterattack with the triple-core is where AMD is right now. After all, in decades past, this company routinely turned out faster 286s, 386s and 486s compared to Intel's original offerings.

Whether by design or by accident, AMD's playing possum now broken by its unveiling of its triple-core adds a new fork to its already impressive roadmap. The real news about Barcelona with all its attendant delays might not have been Barcelona after all.

AMD’s back, not only playing in the same ballpark but putting a surprising spin to what is suddenly a more exciting ballgame.

The bottom line in real terms is victory for the computing masses -- dirt-cheap dual-cores (much earlier than originally intended or anticipated) as well as more innovative and more cost effective offerings from both Intel and AMD across the board.

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