Feeds

AMD to try to take on Intel Core 2 with tri-core Phenom

It's the multi-blade shaver war all over again

3 Big data security analytics techniques

IDF AMD's upcoming Phenom desktop processor family will include CPUs with three processing cores, the chip maker announced last night. Now that dual-core products are commonplace and four-core chips becoming more so, why not tri-core too?

AMD didn't provide any details of the Phenom series members' speeds and feeds, but it did state that the three-core versions will go on sale in Q1 2008 following the shipment of quad-core parts this year.

It also confirmed the chips will use HyperTransport 3.0 for connectivity and contain a bank of L3 cache that will be shared by however many cores a given CPU contains. It didn't say how much L3, however.

Of course, no one sets out to make a three-core product - AMD is simply being commercially canny. Of all the quad-core chips it punches out, some will have cores that are dead or not up to scratch. AMD can't sell them as four-core products, and while it might have once sold them as dual-core chips, by disabling one of the remaining cores, it now plans to offer them as three-core CPUs.

That allows it to not only sell chips it might otherwise have had to discard or offer as cheaper, two-core parts, but also allows it to position the three-core products as superior to Intel's rival Core 2 Duo chip.

Until the three-core Phenoms are independently tested, we can't say how they will line up against the Intel chips, but there's no doubt that three cores provide more processing resources than two, to the benefit of anyone running CPU-intensive tasks like games, media manipulation applications and so on.

The problem for AMD is that Intel is gearing up to release CPUs based on its 45nm 'Penryn' architecture - the Phenoms will be 65nm chips - and if it can get half-decent yields will push quad-core chips into the mainstream.

Indeed, here at the Intel Development Forum, company CEO Paul Otellini will today speak on the subject of "extreme to the mainstream". Core 2 Extreme is Intel's four-core gaming product line, and even if Otellini will be using 'extreme' in a broader sense, he clearly means to drive four-core products further down-market.

Intel has the advantage here that its quad-core chips are made from two, dual-core parts. AMD's four-core chips are based on a single, monolithic four-core design. Inevitably, that means Intel is going to get better yields than AMD, since statistically a given 300mm wafer is going to yield more working dual-core chips than working quad-core parts.

Factor in the greater production density afforded by 45nm production - smaller cores mean you get more of them out of a given standard-sized wafer - and Intel will potentially have the volumes to allow it to push down prices.

Why then buy a three-core CPU from AMD when you can get a four-core chip from Intel for the same price? Yes, an AMD chip may perform better than an Intel one with the same number of cores, but an extra core will surely give Intel the lead.

Intel hasn't said how it will price up its 45nm desktop chips, but there's no doubt it will be very aggressive, and AMD will have to follow suit.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – A jolly little war for lunchtime
Free-to-play WoW turn-based game when you have 20 minutes to kill
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.