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AMD's Triple-Core Phenom X3 Processor Launched

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the hey-your-core-is-missing dept.

AMD 234

MojoKid writes "AMD officially launched their triple-core processor offering today with the introduction of the Phenom X3 8750. When AMD first announced plans to introduce tri-core processors late last year, reaction to the news was mixed. Some felt that AMD was simply planning to pass off partially functional Phenom X4 quad-core processors as triple-core products, making lemonade from lemons if you will. Others thought it was a good way for AMD to increase bottom line profits, getting more usable die from a wafer and mitigating yield loss. This is an age-old strategy in the semiconductor space and after all, the graphics guys have been selling GPUs with non-functional units for years. This full performance review and evaluation of the new AMD Phenom X3 8750 Tri-Core processor shows the CPU scales well in a number of standard application benchmarks, in addition to dropping in at a relatively competitive price point."

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234 comments

Number 1 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23172980)

I'm too scared to post first without being anonymous!!!

Re:Number 1 (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173388)

I would mod that insightful. lol

Re:Number 1 (0, Offtopic)

timberwolf753 (1064802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173916)

I'd hit that also

3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (5, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23172994)

3 cores sounds "wrong" (it should be apower of 2, right?), but with 3 cores, you can connect each core to every other one on an internal bus much more easily than with 4 cores, since you need fewer busses, and they do not need to cross.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (4, Informative)

deander2 (26173) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173024)

i believe instead they disable a not-quite-functional core from their quad-processor reject bin.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (4, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173164)

That's what I remembered. Really though, the GP's post still stands; there isn't an amazing reason why we shouldn't have non-integer powers of two as our core count - or odd numbers, or prime numbers (3 is all of the above). I say, bring on the 7 core CPUs! Plus, marketing people might think that "5000" has a better ring to it than "8192".

The only thing I don't see happening is fractional counts - 7.5 cores (7 full, and one "handicapped"). The OS would then have to learn to avoid the "gimpy" cores for CPU hungry processes.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173352)

Odd numbers violate my obsessive need for symmetry. Excuse me now while I go and touch the door exactly 12 times.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (5, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173756)

So trilateral symmetry doesn't cut it for you?

I suppose it could be worse, you could have some kind of fractional symmetry fetish and only feel normal surrounded by mandelbrot sets and serpenski gaskets.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174004)

I think you meant Sierpiski...

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (3, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173790)

Ha ha. ;-) Well I drive a car with only 3 pistons (honda insight). That configuration is rare in the States, but pretty common in the European Union (like the VW Lupo or Polo). The advantage of a 3-piston engine is almost-equal power to 4-bangers, but less rotatin mass to achieve better gasoline/diesel efficiency. In other words, it helps the consumer save money.

So for me "driving" a 3-core computer would feel pretty normal.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173836)

The Geo Metro was a pretty popular little car in the USA, and it was a 3-cylinder. They don't make 'em anymore though, since after all, it saved people money.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (3, Interesting)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174190)

US government policy appears to be that we will be as wasteful as practical. A person who wishes to attribute this to a plan could suggest that this is intended to cushion the blow from peak oil.

The hypothesis here would be that any reasonable person understands that, at some point, we will achieve the peak of oil production. At that point we'll see declining oil production into the future. Further, it would make sense to achieve peak oil while in a very wasteful and inefficient state. This will make it possible to extend the standard of living by continuously optimizing the use of oil while transitioning to alt energies.

The flip side of this would be hitting peak oil while already in a lean and efficient condition. This would delay the arrival of peak oil but would also make the arrival of that state much more painful. One could think of analogies to a human being reaching a state of low food production when fat as contrasted to reaching that same state when lean. The lean person would have to adjust much more quickly in order to avoid starving to death. The heavier person would have energy reserves (not a perfect analogy but it helps clarify the idea).

If you consider it that way then the encouragement of wasteful energy use makes sense. It would be like building in a buffer. Of course the possibility that it is just naked greed is more obvious and perhaps correct but the effect would be essentially the same. In essence, I think there is an upside to inefficient energy use.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174158)

Ha ha. ;-) Well I drive a car with only 3 pistons

Well a machine running an AMD triple-core, loaded with PrOn and using 3-phase power should be really popular with trisexuals. Taking gaming to another level?

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (4, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173826)

A pentagon is not symmetrical? You have a strange definition of symmetry.

you can buy one today (5, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173896)

PS3 uses the CELL processor [wikipedia.org] built with 8 cores and one is disabled, leaving you with 7 cores-one for the OS and 6 for games/apps. And it will boot and run a linux image, yellowdog [terrasoftsolutions.com] , which is a ported centos. So there ya go, you can buy one if you want one. There's more exact specs at the links, that is a basic and probably sort of flawed summary.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173452)

There is functional and then there is mostly functional. How do we know somebody won't find a way to reactivate the limp core and make a four core?

I think it's a worthless product anyway. Four Core systems with 8gb ram are going for under a thousand even with a 1gb nvidia card. Do I really want to save $50 or something that might be partially dodgy?

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (2, Insightful)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173562)

Most likely, the core has been laser trimmed in such a way that it's not even connected any more. Almost certainly no way to re-enable it.

For that matter, why would you suspect the rest might be dodgy? They've passed functional testing.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (5, Informative)

frieko (855745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173584)

Then you'll be disappointed to find out you've been buying chips with disabled pieces of cache for years.

What's going on is out of 500 million transistors, perhaps ONE of them is defective. Whatever cache/core/etc that one transistor is in, is therefore useless. But in no way does this make the rest of the chip 'dodgy'.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173718)

There is a reason the core is disabled. Are you worried about counterfeiting or DIY modding?

In the case of counterfeiting, I can see your point. What if someone can reactivate the broken core, and sell it as a (defective) quad-core? Well like others have said, ATI and Nvidia have been shipping their gfx chips for years like that, and there has been no negative publicity about it.

In the case of overclockers trying to reactivate the core (like unlocking multipliers), that's pretty much moot. If you know how to do that, chances are you know what you're doing and the warranty is void anyway.

I think it's a worthless product anyway
At the current price point, I agree with you that there is little added value in triple-cores. Like the article says, there is only a $20 difference between the triple- and quad-cores. But in the case of a hosed core on a quadcore, I can't blame AMD for trying to salvage all they can.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173548)

AMD have stated before that they intend to also build native triple-core processors.

And as the GP states,

you can connect each core to every other one on an internal bus much more easily than with 4 cores
The beauty of it (from an engineering point of view) is that every core has been designed with 3 HT links. One goes to the memory, and two connect to other cores. So really, in a four-core system, there is an additional latency because information needs two hops to reach all of the cores. Three cores is the max AMD can do while still keeping latency at its lowest.

I'm not exactly sure if this is how the demoted quad-cores will work as well, but I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to reconfigure the fourth HT bridge (on the disabled core) to act as a short-circuit.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173942)

Does this bring up uneven heating problem?

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173378)

3 cores sounds "wrong" (it should be apower of 2, right?)

There's no reason for it to be a power of 2. If anything, I'd expect it to be a square -- 1, 4, 9, 16, 25...

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

AngryLlama (611814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173482)

Yeah. Actually, for me, I'd expect the number of cores to be square (1,2,4,9,16,25,etc..) Of course, the rules may change with that many cores.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173812)

The XBox 360 has a triple-core CPU, and that was one of the earliest multi-core (certainly of those over 2 cores) processors on the market I think. So, it never sounded wrong to me ^^

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (4, Informative)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173954)

Maybe the first one you've heard about, but IBM has been doing multicore CPUs for years. From their website...

POWER4 - released in 2001, POWER4 is the first commercial multicore system with 2 cores per chip, and 8 cores per socket.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174012)

Well I assumed it wasn't the first-ever. I was speaking more in terms of the mainstream consumer market. The 360's is indeed based on PowerPC and obviously wasn't IBM's first foray into multiple cores.

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (3, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173856)

"with 3 cores, you can connect each core to every other one"

We call this formation the "flux capacitor."

Re:3 cores sounds "wrong", but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174302)

xbox 360 has 3 cores, but that's how it's designed, nothing turned off.

where is the power of two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173042)

I was expecting 2, 4, 8, etc. ... not 3 ?!?

Re:where is the power of two (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173144)

2 ^ 1.58497 gives you approximately three processors.

If I could remember anything about maths I could probably give you a more precise number

Re:where is the power of two (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173316)

log base 2 of 3 = ~ 1.5849625007211561814537389439482

quick way to do it in calc is ln(3)/ln(2)

Re:where is the power of two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173510)

I assume you mean in "calculator," and not in "calculus." Logs are so college algebra.

Re:where is the power of two (1)

wilx (1065624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173732)

Logs are so college algebra.
Ugh. Where do you live? Logarithms are high school stuff here.

Re:where is the power of two (1)

Kurrel (1213064) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173868)

Where do you live that college algebra isn't a re-hashing of high school math?

Re:where is the power of two (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173922)

Where do you live that college algebra isn't a re-hashing of middle school math?
Fixed it for ya.

Re:where is the power of two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173888)

Logs are so college algebra.
College algebra? I learned logs in 8th grade.

Re:where is the power of two (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174186)

College algebra? I learned logs in 8th grade.

I have been doing logs since I started eating solid food.

Re:where is the power of two (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173488)

If I could remember anything about maths I could probably give you a more precise number
More precise than a Pentium result, anyway.

Re:where is the power of two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173648)

If I could remember anything about maths I could probably give you a more precise number
More precise than a Pentium result, anyway.
The 90s called they want their joke back.

Re:where is the power of two (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174176)

The 90s called they want their joke back.

They're the 89.7597399923's to me. I still have an original Pentium P54C.

Re:where is the power of two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174036)

log(3) / log (2)

1.5849625007211561814537389439478

Manufacturing perspective: 4 - 1 (2, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173918)

I was expecting 2, 4, 8, etc. ... not 3 ?!?

Don't look at it from a marketing perspective, look at it from a manufacturing perspective. It is not a 3, it is a 4 - 1. A quad core with one broken core.

To AMD fanboi's who are reading, take a breath and do not interpret the above as an attack on AMD. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, why waste the three good cores and all the energy, time, and resources that went into producing them. Disable the failed core and sell the part as a trio at a discount relative to the quad.

I'm having flashbacks to the original Pentium, where a production line manufactured 120 MHz CPUs but when packaged the CPUs could be 75, 90, or 120 MHz. Some 75s were CPUs that failed at 120 and 90 but passed at 75, but many were good 120s that shipped as 75s because all the 120 orders were filled and 75 orders were pending. Hence the legendary overclocking of the 75. I wonder if dual cores will someday follow a similar pattern. The production line manufactures quads but they are packaged as quads or duos depending on testing and orders to be filled.

Re:where is the power of two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173938)

Welcome. Where have you been hiding? Never heard of the Cell processor with 7 SPEs? Or a Geforce 8800 with 96 or 112 shader units?

Please someone explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173084)

Please someone explain why cores have to be a power of 2. Seriously, I can understand RAM, Hard Drives, etc. because it can easily store addresses for storage as 0x???? in hex, but for CPU cores? Why?

Re:Please someone explain (2, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173330)

Because it makes the algorithms for splitting up work simpler? I remember reading a review where they took a dual processor motherboard, put a dual core in one socket and a single core in the other. Some applications crashed in multithreading mode due to the non power of two number of cores.

Re:Please someone explain (3, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173610)

That wasn't due to the applications. It was due to the system not being designed to work that way... the single-core CPU wasn't made to be able to talk to the other CPU's. The 3-core AMD CPU works perfectly well under any load.

Re:Please someone explain (2, Informative)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174006)

The 3-core AMD CPU works perfectly well under any load.
That's not what TechReport says:

Three cores is weird There, I've said it. You know you were thinking it. We're modern folks, open to many possibilities in life, including this one. But three cores is just plain weird. You will need to know this before making the decision to drop a Phenom X3 into your own computer. Dude. Three. This weirdness manifests itself in several ways. Although many of the applications we use for CPU testing had no trouble recognizing the X3's triple cores and putting them to good use, some did. Several SiSoft Sandra modules lost bladder control when asked to quantify the performance of a tri-core processor and simply refused to run. Microsoft's Windows Media Encoder pegged the X3 at 67% utilization and would go no further; two cores were all it would use. Even the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista apparently have trouble recognizing odd numbers of CPU cores. Already, updates are becoming available to fix some of these problems, but owners of Phenom X3s are bound to run into such issues over the next little while as software developers adjust to unconventional core counts.
Emphasis added.

Re:Please someone explain (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174338)

No, the quoted text from TechReport doesn't say anything about how well the CPU works. It suggests that some applications were coded with performance hacks for two- or four-core systems and didn't deal too well with having three.

If the CPU executed faulty instructions, caused system crashes or failed to divide 4195835.0 by 3145727.0 properly then you could say that the CPU was not "working perfectly well". If causing Windows Vista to "have trouble" was a sign of a CPU not working then you would have much bigger problems than just this.

Re:Please someone explain (1)

Namlak (850746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174114)

Because it makes the algorithms for splitting up work simpler?
Or not, if you have a thread to manage and/or pre/post process the workloads of two worker threads, which is common.

Better density with powers of 2 (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174078)

Please someone explain why cores have to be a power of 2.

I'm a software guy who is guessing, but I expect that it has something to do with the density of circuits on a manufacturing wafer. Square or rectangular layouts may be more natural than other geometrically tight fitting shapes such as triangles or hexagons. If so, powers of two help preserve that geometry. A linear geometry, adding each core in a line, would technically preserve a rectangular geometry but the length of the "wires" is inefficient. Keeping things as square as possible probably optimized the tradeoff between length and layout.

A less rosy assessment (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173094)

For what it's worth, TR reached very different conclusions after more extensive testing against more relevant competition--Intel's 45nm chips, like the Core 2 Duo E7200, E8400, and Q9300.

http://techreport.com/articles.x/14606

Re:A less rosy assessment (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173210)

err.. link:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/14606 [techreport.com]

Re:A less rosy assessment (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173366)

Heh, even a dual core Intel running a lower clock rate is faster than the AMD. LOL, good jorb!

Actually I don't think AMD processors are all that bad. Up until a few months ago I was running an Opteron machine. The problem I have always had with the AMD procs is that you have no good choices in motherboards. You end up with some VIA or nVidia shit (I love my nVidia gfx cards but their mainboard chipsets suck).

I was so happy when Intel finally got their act together and came out with the Core series because then I could finally run a decent motherboard.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174296)

What idiot modded the truth down?

Re:A less rosy assessment (1)

AnInkle (882630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173384)

And furthermore, TR's reviews are witty, clever, and worth reading beginning to end. Why do so many hardware review sites read like an industry press release or use the same tired analogies and figures of speech? Tech Report's writers actually know how to write, not just run benchmarks and post the results.

Re:A less rosy assessment (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173682)

"Boring article... losing consciousness. Zzzzz." - The Tick (tv)

i dunno (-1, Offtopic)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173132)

im quite happy with my quad core q6600 i got many many months ago for dirt cheap

i used to be an AMD fanboy but i got sick of waiting for AMD to get their act together

AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (5, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173152)

The idea of reviving quad cores with 1 bad core is nice, but AMD is also playing a dangerous game. It is only in AMD's interest to sell triple core CPUs when the only alternative would be to throw the (large and expensive) die out since it can't work as a quad core. However, if these things became too popular AMD would be faced with the situation of either starving the market, or taking quad cores that actually DO work and intentionally blowing the fuses to make them triple cores.
      I think this might explain the pretty lackluster clockspeeds. Phenom has never clocked well, but when you can buy a 2.5Ghz quad core for not much more than the top of the line 2.4Ghz triple core, it's pretty clear AMD wants to unload these things, but not to make any big waves about it. If anything the triple cores ought to clock much higher and have substantially better power usage... but that is not the case.

Re:AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173442)

Everyone already does that. That's one of the reasons that Celerons used to be so popular with the overclocker crowd. When Intel didn't have enough of one kind of Celeron but had too many of another, they would mark down the faster chips or disable some cache on a P3.

Due to yields, if you buy a slow processor there is a good chance that it is capable of running quite a bit faster. When you buy a top of the line processor, that's much less likely.

GPU makers have been known to do the same thing. I remember when you could flash a low end card (one of the GeForce 4s?) to be a more expensive one (more shaders) and you might end up with a working card (wasn't disabled due to errors, just to 'meet quota').

This is normal. If they didn't do this, people would have to buy the faster chips which would cause their price to drop.

Re:AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173726)

Everyone already does that. That's one of the reasons that Celerons used to be so popular with the overclocker crowd. When Intel didn't have enough of one kind of Celeron but had too many of another, they would mark down the faster chips or disable some cache on a P3.

That may have happened, but usually when chips are marked down it's because they didn't perform within specs in the higher slot. The fact that they don't show obvious problems in the hands of an overclocker doesn't mean they didn't meet the maker's QC cutoffs.

Re:AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173920)

Right. It's rare that chips perform massively above their spec, or are disabled just for fun. Most of the time it's because they won't perform at that higher speed or have some other error (some bad cache). OCers do other mods to try to make things more stable (like run extra voltage through the chip, stronger cooling, etc). Without those changes the chips won't run faster without crashing noticeably often.

I was just trying to point out that this isn't something new that AMD invented to screw with people. Companies have been doing stuff like this for years. There is no reason Intel couldn't have been doing this exact thing in the last few years, they just haven't.

Re:AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173820)

That's only when it gets later into manufacturing, and if AMD could clock things higher, they would. They are really hurting going against Intel right now, and any benefit would be amazing. In short, I wouldn't count on any AMD chips overclocking very well in the short term.

Re:AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (1)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174250)

"GPU makers have been known to do the same thing. I remember when you could flash a low end card (one of the GeForce 4s?) to be a more expensive one (more shaders) and you might end up with a working card (wasn't disabled due to errors, just to 'meet quota')." The practice is not ancient. I am running a GeForce 6800 in such a manner. It came with 2 "units" disabled (4pp, 1vp each) and I enabled 1 unit with rivatuner and ran it like that since day 1. Enabling the second disabled unit would cause artifacts so that was out. I suspect similar things are possible on newer 8xxx cards etc..

Re:AMD does NOT want 3x cores to be too popular (3, Insightful)

menace3society (768451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173638)

It seems to me it'd be a tough row to hoe, marketing-wise. Places like Marshall's and Kohl's have conditioned customers to expect slightly-flawed merchandise and deep discounts, not minor discounts. If it's true that they aren't substantially more efficient than quad cores, then (under the assumption that energy is increasingly the greatest cost) there's not a terribly good reason for anyone to buy one.

Personally, I would sell them at dual-core prices and get rid of the whole lot pronto.

Stop the obsession with clock speed (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174198)

Didn't the Pentium IV teach you this? Faster clocks just burn up unnecessary power. Better to speed up with parallelizing circuitry that you can turn off when not in use. Note in the reviews that their slower chip outbenchmarked faster chips from Intel.
Dangerous game? Prices are tweaked up and down to stimulate demand for various products. When you have to compete, you have to make tough decisions about products. AMD has been in business for a long time competing against bigger established chipmakers and they will continue to be a scrappy innovative company.

Pricing... (5, Informative)

heteromonomer (698504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173160)

Looks like AMD's marketing and sales dept isn't being very smart here, pricing them the way they are. X3 chips are $20 cheaper than X4, and $5 cheaper than 2.2 GHz X4s. And with those benchmarks they are definitely not competitive against intel's 2-core and 4-core offerings. Come on guys! If you don't let go of some of the margins and price them aggressively against Intel you're going to die.

Missed Marketing opportunity (4, Funny)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173626)

I agree, if they were smart they would have called it the "Trinity" chip, stuck a cross logo on the box, and sold it to the same Christian Fundamentalists who read the Lost Behind novels.

A failed core goes from being a sign of bad engineering, to a sign from God.

Re:Missed Marketing opportunity (1)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174008)

A failed core goes from being a sign of bad engineering, to a sign from God.

Even better - engrave an image of the Virgin Mary onto the defective core. That way you can appeal to the catholics as well as the baptists.

Re:Missed Marketing opportunity (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174044)

...Christian Fundamentalists who read the Lost Behind novels.

That's Left Behind. Lost Behind is the less successful spin-off where we discover that everybody who was carried off by the Rapture just got sent to a tropical island filled with Polar Bears.

Re:Missed Marketing opportunity (2, Informative)

niko9 (315647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174062)

...and sold it to the same Christian Fundamentalists who read the Lost Behind novels.

I find that Christian Fundamentalists have no trouble finding their behinds since they spend a good portion of their
day with theirs heads up in it.

But what I think you were referring to was the Left Behind series of novels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Behind [wikipedia.org]

Not even God gets a 100% yield (4, Funny)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174128)

A failed core goes from being a sign of bad engineering, to a sign from God.

That would be manufacturing not engineering, and no one gets 100% yields out of manufacturing. Not even God, look at the defect rate in his creation, human beings.

Jehovah or Neo (3, Funny)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174182)

I agree, if they were smart they would have called it the "Trinity" chip, stuck a cross logo on the box, and sold it to the same Christian Fundamentalists who read the Lost Behind novels. A failed core goes from being a sign of bad engineering, to a sign from God.

Which god, Jehovah (old testament) or Neo (The Matrix)? Matrix fanbois would probably be a more lucrative market. Use the name Trinity but make the CPU packaging a glossy black instead of matte black.

Re:Pricing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173720)

True, but they JUST CAME OUT. AMD lowers prices about twice as fast as Untel. I expect a big drop off in about a month.

Of course they have to start it high and see how it sells, but this time they started too high for a low-demand product.

I don't think these will be popular at all, but every one they sell is saved from the bin anyway... net gain from a total loss.

Anything... (4, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173198)

...that makes AMD more competitive and sell more processors is a good thing in my book.

After all, healthy competition keeps them honest, eh?

It's also greener (2, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174230)

Anything that makes AMD more competitive and sell more processors is a good thing in my book. After all, healthy competition keeps them honest, eh?

And it is a greener strategy, less waste of resources and energy, so there are public relations and marketing benefits as well.

Why doesn't Intel (2, Interesting)

xSacha (1000771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173216)

Surely Intel's chips have failed cores sometimes too. What do they do with theirs? Just chuck them out? They should be reselling their failed quad-cores. Interesting: What happens if they don't have enough failed quad-cores to meet demand of tri-cores? Would they purposely disable a core that I could re-enable myself just to keep up with demand?

Re:Why doesn't Intel (2, Informative)

Vigile (99919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173314)

All of Intel's quad-core processors are actually a pair of dual core dies on one chip. So if one core is bad, they make a single core CPU out of it maybe, or if they do just toss it, they are losing much less wasted silicon.

Re:Why doesn't Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174030)

They do. That is why there is a "Core 2 Duo" and "Core 2 Solo"

AM2+ vs AM2 (1)

CriX (628429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173220)

TFA specifies an AM2+ socket. Would I lose any functionality if I swapped out my Athlon X2 for one of these babies (on my AM2 Mboard)?

Re:AM2+ vs AM2 (3, Informative)

xSacha (1000771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173272)

Yes, but not much:

However, due to the lack of support of HyperTransport 3.0 and separated power planes in Socket AM2 motherboards, AM2+ chips will be limited to the specifications of Socket AM2 (HyperTransport 2.0 at the speed of 1 GHz, one power plane for both Cores and IMC).

Source: Wikipedia

Re:AM2+ vs AM2 (3, Informative)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173440)

So sayeth Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

AMD confirmed that AM2 processors will work in AM2+ motherboards and AM2+ processors will work on AM2 motherboards. However, due to the lack of support of HyperTransport 3.0 and separated power planes in Socket AM2 motherboards, AM2+ chips will be limited to the specifications of Socket AM2 (HyperTransport 2.0 at the speed of 1 GHz, one power plane for both Cores and IMC). AM2 chips will not benefit from faster HyperTransport and separated power planes on AM2+ motherboards as they do not support them, AM2+ motherboard then fall back to compatibility mode using AM2 specifications.

Re:AM2+ vs AM2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173478)

Functionality, no, not really. The main dif AFAIK between AM2 and AM2+ is the bus HT speed.
AM2+ supports 2 GHZ (up to 2.6 I think?) as opposed to AM2 up to 1.6.

And the only other sig dif is AM2+ manages the power rails better, split between cpu and vga.
So, faster (to a point) and more efficient on power usage.

MOST people building AMD boxes in the next 6 months will want to wait for the new southbridge in upcoming chipsets.

Nit-picky beyond belief (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173254)

Isn't the word "competitive" always relative? My real gripe is actually that the actual price point isn't mentioned in the blurb. I am not new enough to Slashdot to ever RTFA, so I rely solely on the misinformation in the blurb and comments.

More reviews that seem more correct (4, Informative)

Vigile (99919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173300)

this review seems to summarize it well. (2, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173784)

Stolen from the techreport article you posted:

'I can't help but think this all must have looked different on AMD's roadmap when it was first being put together. I doubt they expected that the fastest Phenom would only run at 2.4GHz and, in doing so, would only just match the Core 2 Quad Q6600--an older product on the way out, replaced by the Core 2 Quad Q9300. That's the reality, though, and it's constrained AMD's pricing so much that the top Phenom quad core is $235. The compression through the rest of the lineup makes the triple-core value proposition suspect. Give up a core to get 200MHz more at $195? Not likely when the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition, at 2.5GHz with an unlocked multiplier, is 40 bucks more. The logic of the pricing scheme may be internally consistent, but the stakes are too low. I'd go with the X4 9850 ten times out of ten. If, that is, I were somehow bound and determined to choose an AMD processor over one of Intel's current offerings.'

That sums it up pretty well.

First of all, that AMD can only play in the low end of the market, and second that who is going to give up a core to save $40?

This seems like an exercise in futility.

Re:this review seems to summarize it well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174122)

A manufacturer wanting to sell their computer at $599 instead of over $600 with a moniker, why get one or two when you can get five! er three!

Re:More reviews that seem more correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174018)

A couple more reviews that aren't as, um, positive:
I believe as much on online advertised benchmarks as enlarge your penis propaganda.

Seem is the operative word (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174090)

Because I see a lot more superstitious twaddle about "power of two" and a lot less discussion of practical performance implications.

PC architecture review? (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173310)

Despite all these multiple core CPUs and, high speed I/O devices and 4D accelerating graphic cards, I still get stuck into RAM, bus or DMA bottlenecks.
Wouldn't it be better to spend some research resources into a new PC architecture with things like crossbars [wikipedia.org] in order to really exploit all those parallel CPU cycles?

TechReport's review (1)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173338)

The Tech Report has their usual in-depth coverage here: link [techreport.com]

Is their yield that bad? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173394)

Is AMD having fab problems?

There are real 3-CPU parts. The XBox 360 has one; three PowerPC CPUs share a cache. The chip layout [ibm.com] is four quadrants, three with CPUs and one with the L2 cache.

Intel (2, Informative)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173406)

Is it just me, or looking at those benchmarks was the clear response to just buy intel since it wins in virtually every category anyway. Or were the intel chips listed not directly comparable? I'm still running my X2-4600+ and am thrilled with the performance... but if I were in the market, those particular charts would all be leading me to the Intel processors.

Re:Intel (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173508)

The only reason I'm considering buying a Phenom (the real 4 core deal) is because I'm in the same boat as you, I have a x2-4200+. I can just swap out the processor and not have to worry about buying anything else, and really I don't **need** the horsepower, but I do play with multithreaded scientific programming.

If I were building a computer from scratch, it'd be a core 2 quad all the way.

Frist st0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23173430)

Platform for the is eFNet, 4nd you

Selling crippled processors is old school (2, Interesting)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173792)

Somewhere in my office, I have a vintage system based on an old 486SX, with the disabled/broken math coprocessor. Who here remembers those things? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I also have a couple laptops with the fully functional coprocessors. They are early tablet PCs with b/w pen-sensitive screens, and actually can do handwriting recognition with a 486DX running at a screaming 25 mhz. I might go downstairs and fire one up just for the nostalgia of it. Last I checked, they still worked.

Why do you care if they are failed quad-cores? (5, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173806)

Who cares? Even if the chip was a failed quad core with one of the cores disabled, why is it bad for AMD to sell them as triple cores? Would you prefer they just melt the silicon back down, wasting time, money, and most importantly, energy? I certainly don't.

less heat? (2, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23173886)

It would sound to me like it would run a heck of a lot colder than with 4. I mean it's designed to run at a decent temp with 4 cores running so with 3, it'll be really cold! If you underclock a processor to 75% it barely puts off any heat. Of course the 3 cores will still be maxing so it's different but it should be way cooler anyway. But of course that's a bigger problem than they think. I dunno how they're actually arranged but if 3 corners are hot and one not, plus the fact that it was a bad processor in the first place, these things are gonna fail so fast people are gonna be pissed! You don't heat a damaged straight from the factory chip unevenly!
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