ED#57 : The AMD Phenom Goes Triple Core!
AMD has just announced the addition of triple-core AMD Phenom processors to their desktop processor roadmap. Yes, in an age of dual- and quad-core processors, AMD has decided to add number 3 to the mix. Scheduled for release in Q1, 2008, these triple-core processors will be the world's first and only triple-core x86 processor.
According to AMD, these new processors represent a "multi-core triple threat" to Intel's current hegemony in the multi-core desktop segment. They claim that current quad-core desktop processors (the Intel quad-core Core 2 processors, in other words) only represent less than 2% of the market. Hence, AMD believes their triple-core Phenom processors will fill the market's need for more powerful processors without paying for more expensive quad-core processors.
As impressive as that sounds, the triple-core Phenom will really just another multi-core processor. This time, instead of having 2 or 4 cores, this processor just has happens to have 3 cores. What does that mean? All else being equal, a triple-core processor would be faster than a dual-core processor but slower than a quad-core processor. There's nothing magical about it at all, although we must admit it is always nice to have more options to choose from.
The New Roadmap
AMD is still on track to release the Agena FX and Agena quad-core processors by the end of the year. In fact, we have confirmation that AMD has scheduled the launch of the Phenom quad-core processors for December 2007. The triple-core processor will be released soon thereafter. After all, it is merely a "crippled" version of the Agena quad-core processor.
Yes, although the roadmap has conveniently neglected to mention the core name for the triple-core Phenom processor, it is really the Agena core as that of the quad-core Phenom processor. Although it will only have three functional processing cores, the actual processor die will physically similar - in size, transistor count, actual number of cores, everything. Let's see why that is so.