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Advanced Micro Devices this week introduced its fastest quad-core microprocessor ever and also slashed pricing on select chip models. The new adjustments will hardly significantly influence AMD's market performance, but will likely prepare the company and its partners for the launch of next-generation microprocessors.

AMD introduced its fastest quad-core microprocessor ever. The Phenom II X4 980 "Black Edition" has operating frequency of 3.70GHz (no Turbo Core technology is supported), 2MB of L2 cache (512KB per core), 6MB of unified L3 cache, dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, 4000MHz HT bus as well as 125W thermal envelope. The chip is drop in compatible with AM3/AM3+ infrastructure. The chip costs $185 when acquired from AMD.

The frequency of AMD's fastest quad-core chip is the same as the Turbo Core clock-speed of six-core AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (3.30GHz stock, 3.70GHz turbo mode) and the price of the unit is just $20 less compared to AMD's highest-performing central processing unit. As a result, the more expensive chip provides similar performance as the Phenom II X4 980 BE in applications that only use three threads and also has two "additional" cores for $20. As a result, market prospects of the novelty are uncertain.

AMD also adjusted pricing onto all of its desktop CPUs by 10% in general. Some positions got 2% more affordable, whereas some others lost 25% or even 40% of the price. AMD's most affordable six-core chip now costs $165, as a result of the price-cut.

The price-slash was made in order to quickly clear out the stock before the next-generation microprocessors arrive on the market place in June and July. The move will help AMD to maintain or even boost its market share insignificantly, but will not allow to address performance-demanding market segments.

Tags: AMD, Phenom, Deneb, Athlon

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