AMD May Be Preparing Phenom II X8 Microprocessors

BIOS Updates Reveal AMD Phenom II X8 Chips

by Anton Shilov
12/22/2011 | 11:09 PM

BIOS updates for mainboards made by Elitegroup Computer Systems and Jetway reveal that Advanced Micro Devices may be preparing a new line of multi-core microprocessors called Phenom II X8. Based on alleged specifications of the products, the new central processing units (CPUs) will be aimed at cost-sensitive segment of the market.

 

Based on CPU support list of Jetway HA18 mainboard based on AMD 9-series chipset and AM3+ socket, AMD is preparing a series of new microprocessors based on Zambezi design (Bulldozer micro-architecture, 4, 6 or 8 cores) of different revisions with rather low clock-speeds and with 95W thermal design power. Jetway lists the new processors as "engineering samples", but a well-known Japanese observer/blogger Northwood.blog60.fc2.com points to an alleged ECS A890GXM-A2 CPU support list that calls the chips as AMD Phenom II X8.

The list of AMD Phenom II X8 microprocessors includes four models:

The "Phenom II X8" microprocessors can be actual early engineering samples of chips that now belong to AMD FX premium product line, however, listing of their support now implies that AMD is cooking something new.

Although AMD FX family does not play in the ultra high-performance segment of the market where microprocessors cost $400 or more, the Sunnyvale, California-based company clearly positions the chips as premium products. Therefore, the company is not interested in selling products with relatively low performance under the FX brand.

It is known that AMD does have a lot of Zambezi processors that have all cores functional, but which cannot work on high clock-speeds and therefore provide premium "FX-class" performance, but AMD is definitely interested in selling those chips. In a bid not to harm the appeal of the FX brand, the chip designer may sell low-frequency Zambezi processors with disabled Turbo Core dynamic clock-speed acceleration technology and/or cut-down L2/L3 cache under Phenom II X8 brand. AMD already sells some processors based on Llano APU design with disabled graphics engine under Athlon II and Sempron monikers, thus, a refresh of the Phenom II line should not be a complete surprise.

With low frequencies and without Turbo Core, the new eight-core Phenom II X8 will likely be considerably slower than the existing six-core Phenom II X8 processors based on Thuban design.

AMD, ECS and Jetway did not comment on the news-story.