AMD Launches Vista-Compatible Quad FX Platform

Just two weeks after the debut ofIntel’s quad-core chips,AMD on Thursday announced its Quad FX Platform with Dual Socket Direct Connect (DSDC) architecture.

AMD is touting the Quad FX as the first dual-socket, multi-core desktop PC platform designed to work with Windows Vista Ultimate. Intel, however, won first-to-market bragging rights, releasing its quad-core Xeon 5300 and Core 2 extreme quad-core processor set of products ahead of AMD.

Intel has been accused of merely slapping together two of its Duo Core processors in order to claim that first-to-market status. Quad FX is widely recognized as a true quad core and is powered by pairs of the AMD Athlon 64 FX-70 series dual-core processors.

Multi-Threading Environments

The new platform is designed to provide users with maximum performance while gaming, streaming and editing high-definition audio and video content. AMD is jumping on an emerging trend toward a multi-threading environment in which users can run several demanding productivity and entertainment applications simultaneously. The DSDC Architecture comes with planned platform upgradability to eight cores.

Technically speaking, DSDC Architecture enables high-bandwidth communication between matched pairs of AMD Athlon 64 FX-70, AMD Athlon 64 FX-72 and AMD Athlon 64 FX-74 dual core processors. Users can benefit from having twice the number of processor cores due to a dual-socket configuration, AMD said.

In other words, the platform scales with compute-intensive applications. In addition, it is designed for an easy upgrade path to a total of eight processing cores with planned AMD native quad-core processors in 2007.

The platform is also designed with high-performance, low-latency unbuffered DDR2 memory and for non-uniform memory access (NUMA) support with compatible operating systems.

Customization in Mind

The AMD Quad FX Platform includes 12 SATA controllers to enable up to nine terabytes of storage using currently available drive technologies, and the ability to accommodate up to four high-performance graphics cards, the company said.

Pricing for pairs of the new AMD Athlon 64 FX-70, FX-72 and FX-74 dual-core processors is US$599, $799 and $999, respectively. Intel’s new quad cores are selling at prices close to their predecessors, ranging from $999 to $1,172.

Hanging on Vista?

“Obviously, the Vista platform wars are heating up — and in Quad FX, AMD seems to make an interesting mix of its dual core technologies and newly acquired Nvidia assets,” Chales King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told TechNewsWorld.

The eventual success of the Quad FX will hinge on performance and price. Performance will depend on comparative benchmarks, which are already starting to roll in. However, the price looks aggressive next to Intel’s, which is a critical point in high-end desktop products, King predicted.

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