AMD: Why They're 'The Smarter Choice'
New 'Phenom' Triple-core Processors said to Allow Multi-Core
Technologies to Reach a much Broader Audience / User Base


by Joe Leo, Columnist


NEWS: (9.18.07)-- The question of whether Apple, Inc. should have stayed with IBM for the PowerPC chip, or gone with the smarter choice of AMD--instead of making the leap ahead to Intel--may never be answered when the three different companies have all rolled out their own unique technologies over the course of the year. In the fast-growing world of technology, it's hard to keep up with all these, advanced devices. Much less, stay on top or ahead of the game.

(One day you're the new iPod nano, the next day you're yesterday's new iPod nano).

Case in point, when IBM announced their new "Airgap Processor" technology--which allows for smaller and faster chips that don't use as much energy--back on May 4th of this year, it brought up the question on this site whether Apple should have stayed with their former chip maker. The week after? Intel, maker of the processors found inside all current Macs, announced news of their own that put everything back to the status quo.

Intel's invention? A technological breakthrough that allowed for their Core 2 Duo processors to work faster but use less energy at the same time.

Enter Advanced Micro Devices, or AMD as it's more commonly known, who rolled out a new--and currently unique to them (for now at least)--innovation that they feel will advance them in the department of processor technologies, proving why they are, to quote their own slogan, "the smarter choice."

Yesterday, AMD announced their new "Phenom" multi-core processor that utilizes three processors on one chip that they dub to be the world's first processors to do such. Current multi-core technologies by AMD (and Intel alike) utilize the now common dual-core processing almost standard in today's consumer-oriented computers, with the quad-core processors left to the professionals.

AMD expects this Phenom-enon to, "...help deliver the visual experience, performance, and multitasking capabilities of true multi-core technology to a broader audience."

In layman's terms, it means offering consumers a wider range of choice in terms of speed and performance. The low-end single processor, the standard dual-core processor, now--through AMD--a new "mid-range" triple-core processor, and the higher end quad-core. (Or in Apple speak, by comparison, the shuffle, the nano, the classic, and the touch).

So, why the need for this new "triple threat" as AMD likes to call it, when people are doing just fine with their dual-core processors?

In AMD's press release (the source for all AMD-related content within this article), they state that:

According to Mercury Research, quad-core processors represented less than two percent of desktop shipments in Q2 2007. AMD believes this suggests a need for a wider selection of multi-core solutions... Triple-core AMD processors can therefore stimulate broader multi-core adoption with a product family that scales to more points-of-entry for the customer.


To put it in better words, Jim McGregor, a research director for the Enabling Technologies Group with market research and consulting firm In-Stat, describes one of the primary advantages of the Phenom triple-core processor, in terms of the technology itself and what it means for end-users.

In a pre-packaged videotaped interview, McGregor says, "[It has the] same architecture as the quad-core processor... a lot of the software applications out there aren't necessarily going take full advantage of four cores. So you're adding additional cores with the robustness of a quad-core architecture at a different price point--likely/considerably lower than a quad-core--so it's going to provide a nice performance boost as well as another price point for consumers."

AMD also states that their new Phenom triple-core processor can even outperform their own quad-core processors in areas of gaming and creating digital content, based on "industry standard" benchmarks.

Currently, Intel offers only dual-core and quad-core processor technologies. AMD's Phenom triple-core processor will be released and is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2008... plenty of time for the other chip-makers to stake their claims to fame as well.

(Footnote: when Intel ignited the "quad-core era" on November 14th of last year with their then new Xeon 5300 quad-core processor, AMD followed suit two weeks later, announcing their own upcoming Opteron quad-core processors being demoed in the "world's first" quad-core server).



NOTE: The official press release contained within was obtained from The News Market, a news service we are a member of, which served as the basis for our story. (The interview with Jim McGregor of In-Stat--commenting on AMD's new technology--was obtained from a video clip also provided via The News Market, and is also under authorized use).



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