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 285mm² 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 247mm² 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.
X-bit labs - AMD Thinks Triple-Core Microprocessors – Rumours [UPDATED 2].