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AMD comes out swinging with 2 quad chips and a triple core [computerworld.com]
Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which took a lot of heat for falling off its game last year, looks to be back in the fray with today's unveiling of three desktop processors.
AMD announced that it's releasing Phenom X49000 processors for high-end desktop systems, along with the 65-watt quad-core Phenom X4 9100e and the Phenom X3 8000 triple-core processors.
Some are saying that the AMD quad-core designs are better than Intel's. Intel supposedly puts 2 dual-core chips together to make their quad-core, while AMD's design is a 'true quad-core'.
triple cores are effectively quad with one broken core that is disabled
This practice is not unheard of in the processor industry. IBM produces the Cell processor where the processors with one failing mathematical core are used in the Sony Playstation 3.
It has been a long time since AMD was able to produce chips that could compete with Intel's high-end processor line. I am not sure if releasing three new processors will get them back in the race.
It seems to me that AMD has got serious yield issues - triple cores are effectively quad with one broken core that is disabled.
No chip manufacturing process has anywhere near 100% yields for CPUs, so this is just good business. Also, both Intel and AMD have released CPU packages with disabled features. It's simply a means of using a single production line to create chips to cover a wide price range.
Historically, slow versions of chips have often come from the same production run as fast versions, with testing used to sort the best from the worst. Incidentally, golf-ball manufacturers have been known to do this too.
No chip manufacturing process has anywhere near 100% yields for CPUs, so this is just good business.
True, but some yields are much worse than other and this forces companies to follow track that is hardly a good business - it's so-so business, which argueably better than bad business (throwing it away completely).
When AMD first started talking about tri-cores Intel's reply was along the lines of: "we actually have good enough yields not to HAVE to do it".
A much bigger issue for AMD is that they can't clock their chips now and even at that clock they are not as efficient as Intels quad cores.
Note here - I am not Intel or AMD fan, I just use the stuff that is best value wise: I have 5 X2 AMDs, but switched now to quad cores from Intel as they simply rock.