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AMD Stakes Claim on Tri-Core Niche With New Chips

By Chris Maxcer
Apr 24, 2008 11:59 AM PT

AMD has announced the availability of three new triple-core x86 processors in its Phenom X3 lineup. New offerings include the 8750, the 8650 and the 8450, with power levels ranging from 2.4 to 2.1 gigahertz.

AMD Stakes Claim on Tri-Core Niche With New Chips

Appropriately enough, the triple-core X3 lineup seems to play well in the middle ground between dual-core and quad-core processors.

AMD first announced the tri-core processors last year and took some heat over speculation that the tri-cores would simply be failed or under-performing quad-core processors with a single processor deactivated. Either way, now that they are here, those concerns seem to have largely slipped away.

The biggest issue is where these processors will fit best, and that has more to do with price vs. performance than any special architectures.

"Regardless of how they do it, AMD is creating this spot between the quads and duals that is priced like a dual, and one of the reasons that they can price them like duals is that, if they couldn't do this, they would probably have to scrap these chips," Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst for Insight 64, told TechNewsWorld.

"Clearly if you can get a couple hundred dollars for a chip you would otherwise get zero for, that's pretty attractive -- and if you can do it and gain a competitive advantage, i.e., the tri-core against an Intel dual-core at the same price -- that's better still," he added.

The Graphics Edge

The new X3s do come with one particularly interesting angle: When connected with the AMD 780 series chipset, AMD said, the combined solution can give consumers a full high-definition experience and visually stunning gaming and digital performance that's designed to easily handle multi-threaded digital entertainment workloads.

At least, that's where AMD is positioning the X3s. The company noted that two of the biggest determinants of the user experience when purchasing a PC are graphics and processors, which forces consumers to made trade-off choices -- presumably, a more powerful CPU or a more powerful graphics card. More likely, the trade-offs are made by manufacturers as they build salable systems, but the point remains: AMD's play is to offer a cost-compelling solution that will provide better performance and graphics than Intel's duo-core systems at a cost lower than quad-core offerings. The new chips AMD announced Wednesday range in bulk price from US$145 to $195.

For Example

"By using the combination of AMD Phenom X3 triple-core processors and the latest AMD 780G motherboards, we now have the ability to create incredibly powerful high-definition home entertainment systems for our customers," noted Todd Swank, vice president of marketing for Nor-Tech, a custom PC system builder.

"When customers witness the smooth playback of their Blu-ray movies and their other high-definition content on our machines, they are just blown away," he added.

On the gaming front, "Our Gamer Ultra Series are proud to feature the latest AMD Phenom X3 8000 Series triple-core processors paired with the robust AMD 780G chipset," noted Eric Cheung, CEO of CyberPower, a company that builds PCs aimed at gamers.

"This unique pairing enhances video quality and efficiency in desktop computing, enabling CyberPower PC to bring customers superior gaming solutions at an incredible price," he added.


Should government regulators force the breakup of big tech companies?
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