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UPDATE: Changing information regarding microprocessors' physical configuration.
UPDATE 2: Adding comments regarding separate triple-core silicon design.
AMD has confirmed plans to sell desktop microprocessors with three cores in 2008. For details read our news-story “AMD Confirms Triple-Core Microprocessors in 2008”.

Advanced Micro Devices may not be in position to release its new dual-processor enthusiast-class platform this year, however, it may be thinking about a different product, according to some unofficial information. Apparently, the company may be mulling about a triple-core microprocessor for desktops.

According to a news-story at Hard Tecs 4U web-site, AMD is working on a processor that would have three processing engines. The company reportedly told its partners about the AMD Phenom X3 chip at a closed meeting, explaining that the chipmaker plans to release such a product because of “market demand”.

The new triple-core microprocessors will feature its own design and will not be quad-core chips with one core disabled, according to the web-site. Nevertheless, the chips will still include 2MB of shared L3 cache and will take advantage of other K10 micro-architecture features, such as SSE4A instruction set, 128-bit floating point units (FPU) and so on. Obviously, the chips will also have advanced power management capabilities.

According to estimates by X-bit labs, each processing engine of quad-core AMD Opteron/Phenom processors takes about 13% of the die size. Given the whole die size of approximately 285mm? and about 218 chip candidates obtained from every 300mm wafer, X-bit labs believes that it is highly unlikely that AMD had decided to develop a separate tripe-core design with about 247mm? die size and 250 chip candidates obtained from a 300mm wafer unless the yields of the new chips are so low that the company needs a redundant third processing engine to create a dual-core product with sufficient yield. 

Technically AMD can easily make microprocessors with odd amount of processing engines thanks to its DirectConnect architecture. However, it is not completely clear how AMD plans to position such chips, considering that it will have to fight both dual-core and quad-core Intel Core 2 processors with its AMD Phenom and AMD Athlon 64 X2 offerings.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.


Comments currently: 43
Discussion started: 09/15/07 03:12:43 AM
Latest comment: 10/08/07 03:54:14 AM
Expand all threads | Collapse all threads


1 processor with 3 cores, sounds awkward, but it makes sense - 2 cores is better than 3 =)
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/15/07 03:12:43 AM]

It sounds to me like AMD is having trouble producing monlithic quad's, and to save money and potentialy aquire a new market segment is just disabling a part of the quad that is not up to spec.


laser cut-up the N and you get 3x [Y]Cores that still work.

and if your stupid;;; Y = yes, core works. N= No, core does not work.

However, the idea is pretty stupid, since if cant cost less then a dual core, but you cant charge more for it then a quad core. So unless its gona be :Dual cores 0-200, triple cores 201-350 and quad cores - everything above, its a pretty e'fed idea.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/15/07 07:10:42 AM]

What AMD is doing is creating a market for any quadcore K10s in which a core is not working. Like one poster said above, instead of throwing it in the trash, they can sell it as a tri core. It doesn't mean that they have a high instance of these chips. It just makes good business since to sell something instead of trash it.

0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/15/07 08:25:44 AM]

this will be interesting if its true

i wonder how apps will use the three cores since it isn't symmetrical
load balancing will be an issue IMO

but its been done with the XBOX 360 with pretty good results(don't know how 360 games use the power PC based CPU but i'm just assuming)

And most devs will be coding programs with just 1 core,2/4/8/16 cores in mind
so odd number 3 may cause troubles

lets see if AMD goes through with it
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/15/07 09:27:00 AM]

AMD must be having horrible yields on 65nm + large Barcelona dies. Forget the "market demand" hype, everyone can see that AMD is trying to SALVAGE defective dies.

I wonder what will be next? AMD selling CPUs with different clocks per Core? How will they price these?
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/15/07 10:51:39 AM]

Why does everybody think that only AMD disabled a certain feature first. Intel started doing this since Celerons came out. Also early Pentium 4 (Northwood core) had Hyper-Threading disabled. A company that disables a certain feature in order to sell less does help the company lose less instead of losing everything. AMD needs to do the same when parts of the cache is bad to sell more processors at a much lower cost.

A third-core should not have any problems with the OS. Usually Windows is single threaded, so Windows users have to use programs that are multi-threaded to take advantage of multi-processor setups. Linux users will have no problems handling the third core and it will balance the load for each processor.

It will be nice to have the third core be a none micro-architecture core for single thread applications. Compiling data for video, sound, graphics, games and programming languages are handled faster on none micro-architecture processors.

Using a monolithic processor is different than slapping individual cores together to create a dual-core or quad-core processor. Sure individual cores are cheaper because the quality does not have to be as high as the monolithic setups and can squeeze smaller dies on a silicon wafer, but the differences in clock may cause sync problems and inefficiencies in processing data.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/15/07 05:44:40 PM]

There's no excuse for not being able to make a propper quad core CPU. This is crap. Just because Intel isn't doing it, doesn't mean you should.
Stop pawning off your crap on us. Quad's with a broken core disabled, that's a nice move AMD.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/16/07 03:09:20 AM]
- collapse thread

Are you new to technology? This isn't the first time any CPU manufacturer sells off chips with certain parts disabled.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/16/07 07:20:03 AM]
No. Just because it's been done before is not an excuse to do it again.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/16/07 09:41:38 AM]
You do not understand that a silicon disc costs several thousands of dollars in order to create processors. By noting the areas for third and quad core processors, more yields can be done. Less waste makes a greener environment. Also the cost of the quad core processor will be cheaper because AMD does not have to compensate for the waste or the lost. No one is pushing you to buy the three core processor instead of the four core processor. Just think of the four core processor might be cheaper because of the three core processor.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/16/07 01:48:19 PM]
God, I feel like I'm back in economics class in high school. You're right though. It could bring prices of quad's down. I guess my mind is going to mush.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/16/07 02:17:26 PM]


Clearly Mr. BonBon has gone mad or hit his head and forgot what an idiotic fanboy he once was. I hope AMD goes through with this and makes a new and profitable market segment for themselves. The wait for Phenom X4 processor benchmarks is difficult for me.

If they are equal to Intel's Core 2 Quads per mhz at 1333 fsb in games then I will buy one. Should they be equal to Penryn Quads then AMD should be able to make a good deal of money. Whatever the case I do not have a choice but to go with AMD if I want a quad core since I am still on XP Home and I do not want to get another OS now.

I also hope AMD wins it's anti-trust case against Intel and gets millions of dollars in compensation as they rightly deserve.

You're comment also make you sound like an IDIOTIC green fanboy
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/16/07 09:21:57 PM]

What if...

What if all Barcelonas are actually five-core chips, all those fancy die shots are fake, and one in five cores, on average, is bad?
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 06:32:02 AM]

It seems AMD is unable to make a dual core Barcelona that is as fast as Penryn. So AMD has to make some tri-core to fight dual-core Penryn.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 09:25:33 AM]

AMD seems to make moves to handicap themselves in the copetition against Intel.
I wonder why.
Are they so eager to close down?
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 09:31:27 AM]

Both at ZipZoomfly:

Q6600 2.40GHz 4 cores $278
E6550 2.33GHz 2 cores $169

So if you split the difference you get a tri-core for $223 which is $54 more than for the dual-core. Worth it for AMD if they can do that with damaged quads.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 03:09:10 PM]
- collapse thread

Go back and re-read the article.

"The new triple-core microprocessors will feature its own design and will not be quad-core chips with one core disabled..."
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 03:53:34 PM]
At the moment that may be a rumor. Still maybe your right Fudzilla is having a field day with this topic and claiming AMD thinks there is a market for tri-core sever processors.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 05:51:06 PM]

I think this deserves its own reply.

Posted by kill me:

"I also hope AMD wins it's anti-trust case against Intel and gets millions of dollars in compensation as they rightly deserve."

Yah me too so that every time in every occasion theres a Hctor Ruiz in a place his first words when he opens his mouth wont be: "booo hoo Intel pressure srews us, unfair marketing tactics, leaves a scar, wanna see its mark? It hurts when I go poop. blah blah.."

Stupid crybaby quit crying already ok we get it. His cliche complain opening line is getting ridiculous and he's the only one who doesnt seem to get it.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/17/07 09:40:44 PM]


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