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AMD launches Phenom brand

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AMD has launched the Phenom FX, X2 and X4 processor families - well, the name at least - pledging to ship the chips formerly known informally as the 'star' line in the second half of the year.

Right now, AMD isn't saying much about Phenom, preferring to stress that it comprises "true" quad-core designs, unlike its arch-rival's offerings which are made by putting two dual-core dice in the same package. Does it make any difference? Until comparably specced Intel and AMD chips are benchmarked together, we won't know. But watch this space...

Of course, the specs leaked out ages ago: Phenoms have 512KB of L2 cache per core and up to 2MB of on-chip L3 cache per chip. They all use HyperTransport 3 to connect to the host system, at a variety of bus clock speeds. Phenom FX, X4 and X2 chips will be rolled out through Q3 and Q4. Some Phenom FXs will use the Socket 1207+ bus, others, like the X2s and X4s, support Socket AM2+.

All the new CPUs support DDR 2 memory and have 128-bit wide Floating Point maths units.

AMD said its processors would be compatible with motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte and MSI, and chipsets from Nvidia, though it will be supporting Phenom with its own chipset technology. Indeed, the chip maker also announced FASN8, a two-socket motherboard based on one of its own chipsets and designed to take a pair of ATI Radeon HD 2000 series graphics cards. AMD's clearly had a Motorola moment, as the vowel-challenged FASN8 is supposed to be pronounced 'fascinate'. ADVNCD MCRO DVCZ, anyone?

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