AMD previews 4x4 platform

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Munich (Germany) - AMD chose to reveal first official details about its 4x4, dual-socket processor platform at a PR event in Munich. 4x4 apparently is still on track for a November release, while AMD's U.S. representatives aren't ready yet to talk about the firm's answer to Intel's quad-core CPU. AMD confirmed at the event that 4x4 will be introduced with an Nvidia chipset and prices around $1000.

There have been very few processor platforms that have been treated as secretive as AMD's 4x4. Industry sources told TG Daily that the technology will launch on November 14, but - at least to our knowledge - AMD has not engaged in official briefings for the U.S. press yet. A first, very careful, attempt to prepare journalists about the apparently impending product introduction has taken place today in Munich, where desktop marketing director Leslie Sobon confirmed some rumors and provided some launch details.

According to reports published by heise.de and golem.de, AMD will launch 4x4 together with Nvidia, which will provide the chipset for 4x4. While product names were not unveiled, the picture of the motherboard appeared to have been built by Asus, while we speculate that the chipset will be a version of the already introduced Nforce 680i (for Intel processors). The board shown in a picture integrates two sockets to accommodate two processors: Processor names have been confirmed in Munich, but industry sources told TG Daily that the company will launch 4x4 with three 125 watt FX processors, including the models FX-70 (2.6 GHz, 2 MB L2 cache), FX-72 (2.8 GHz, 2 MB) and FX-74 (3.0 GHz, 2 MB). An FX-76 version (3.2 GHz, 2 MB) will follow in the second quarter of next year. All new FX processors are based on the 90 nm Windsor core.

Sobon confirmed AMD's rumored aggressive pricing for these processors, however, 4x4 won't touch the anticipated $800 - $900 price range. The "entry-level" 4x4 solution will be sold as a dual-processor package and will sell for about $1000. According to Sobon, 4x4 - which stands for four processor cores and four graphics processors - will be upgradeable to quad-core processors, currently code-named "Agena," which are expected to launch sometime in mid-2007.

Available applications that are actually able to take advantage of four processor concerns remain a concern for now. AMD expects that more than 20 multi-threading games will be available in 2007. Also, according to heise.de, only the Ultimate Edition of Windows Vista is capable of making use of two processors (while all versions can take advantage of Intel's single-socket quad-core CPU.) However, at least the enthusiast software segment appears to be accelerating the adoption of multi-core processor systems: Valve, developer of the Half-Life game series, that multi-core ready Half-Life versions will launch in the first half of next year and offer a dramatic acceleration of frame rates and physics simulation.

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