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AMD’s tri-core Phenom – more than meets the eye

AMD’s tri-core Phenom – more than meets the eye

Deneb, Propus, Heka and Regor - codename soup with all the ingredients for AMD's 45nm processor lineup...

According to a report on DailyTech, there is more to AMD’s upcoming tri-core Phenom processors than you would have first thought – it's possible that not all of the tri-core processors will be merely cut-down versions of the existing quad-core ‘Agena’ chip used in the chip manufacturer’s first Phenom processors.

The first batch of the soon-to-be-released tri-core processors are codenamed ‘Toliman’ – these are based on the Agena die, meaning that the full 2MB of shared L3 cache intact, even though one the cores has been disabled.

These products will fit under the Phenom 8000 umbrella and, according to DailyTech, the first processors to be released will be the 2.4GHz Phenom 8700 and the 2.3GHz Phenom 8600. Anonymous AMD representatives said that both of these will launch with a 95W thermal envelope.

AMD’s first 45nm quad-core processors will be released at the end of 2008, and these will be followed in 2009 by dual- and tri-core processors. DailyTech says that AMD’s roadmap states that the 45nm quad-core processors will be DDR3-only; however, the triple-core ‘Heka’ processors will feature both DDR2 and DDR3 support.

Interestingly, both 45nm quad- and triple-core processors will be available in two variants – one with shared L3 cache, and one without. What’s not clear though is what ‘Heka’ actually is – is it a combination of the excess quad-core processors with (Deneb) and without (Propus) shared L3 cache, or is it a completely new die?

To make matters a little more unclear is another chip on AMD’s roadmap: ‘Regor’. DailyTech’s report says that ‘Regor’ is believed to be a dual-core version of ‘Deneb’, but it will apparently come with “variable shared L3 cache and a mix of DDR2 and DDR3 support.” It’s ultimately possible that this jungle of codenames actually results in just two different dies—‘Deneb’ and ‘Propus’—with ‘Heka’ and ‘Regor’ being variants of the two with one or two of the cores disabled.

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23 Comments

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kenco_uk 4th December 2007, 13:00 Quote
wait.. what?
steveo_mcg 4th December 2007, 13:04 Quote
:?
I suppose it'll clear up closer to release time but.. wtf??
DXR_13KE 4th December 2007, 13:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
:?
I suppose it'll clear up closer to release time but.. wtf??
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
wait.. what?

same boat..... :?
Tim S 4th December 2007, 13:26 Quote
The tri-core chips might be a completely different chip to the current quad-core Phenoms, but then there are other things which point to it being the same chip. It introduces a shed load of questions about what all of these codenames are for.
DXR_13KE 4th December 2007, 13:33 Quote
wait... i got it..... "more than meats the eye", they are transformers and the code names are their real names......
[USRF]Obiwan 4th December 2007, 13:50 Quote
me: doing his confused look...
Mister_Tad 4th December 2007, 14:45 Quote
They may well run out of integers for model names if this is the case.
Redbeaver 4th December 2007, 14:46 Quote
rofl.... yeah transformers...

tbh im with these guys' boat... have no clue. EXCEPT i now understand AMD's 45nm quad-core with shared L3 = Deneb. thats all i need to know lol.
Hugo 4th December 2007, 16:05 Quote
I love writing for a less techy site sometimes - codename free writeup :D

linkage
wuyanxu 4th December 2007, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
These products will fit under the Phenom 8000 umbrella and, according to DailyTech, the first processors to be released will be the 2.4GHz Phenom 8700 and the 2.3GHz Phenom 8600. Anonymous AMD representatives said that both of these will launch with a 95W thermal envelope.
wait, AMD's newly developed 3 core CPU uses the same amount of power as my over 2 month old 4 core CPU??

god, AMD, do try to keep up
steveo_mcg 4th December 2007, 17:14 Quote
Not being funny, but does intel still use a north bridge for the memory controller? If so then of course the AMD cpu power consumption is going to be higher... the intel chip simply off loads some of the heat to a separate chip
Tim S 4th December 2007, 17:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
Quote:
These products will fit under the Phenom 8000 umbrella and, according to DailyTech, the first processors to be released will be the 2.4GHz Phenom 8700 and the 2.3GHz Phenom 8600. Anonymous AMD representatives said that both of these will launch with a 95W thermal envelope.
wait, AMD's newly developed 3 core CPU uses the same amount of power as my over 2 month old 4 core CPU??

god, AMD, do try to keep up

As Steveo mentions, the north bridge uses considerably less power on an AMD platform than it does on an Intel platform because the biggest heat-generator (the Memory Controller) is inside the CPU. Also, don't directly compare TDPs - Intel uses 'typical' and AMD uses TDP-max. :)
Clocked 4th December 2007, 18:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
...this jungle of codenames actually results in just two different dies—‘Deneb’ and ‘Propus’—with ‘Heka’ and ‘Regor’ being variants of the two with one or two of the cores disabled.

So the processors will have the cores on them but just disabled, I don't get it - why? Surely its a bit of a waste if they are there...
Nexxo 4th December 2007, 18:51 Quote
My head hurts...
Bladestorm 4th December 2007, 19:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clocked
So the processors will have the cores on them but just disabled, I don't get it - why? Surely its a bit of a waste if they are there...

Presumably initial stock at least will be processors which have come out of the manufacturing process with a fault on one core, so they disable that faulty one and sell it at a reduced price.
Ben 4th December 2007, 19:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clocked
So the processors will have the cores on them but just disabled, I don't get it - why? Surely its a bit of a waste if they are there...
So they can sell off faulty quad core chips as a dual or triple core chips rather than binning them, but then i dont know how the triple core chips can have ddr2/3 support when quad core chips only have ddr3. so... ???
ssj12 4th December 2007, 19:13 Quote
so from what I can tell... AMD is releasing these by the time that the QX6850 will be around $500 USD.. honestly not to impressed by AMD's planning. Figured they would release something stronger asap.
kenco_uk 4th December 2007, 23:59 Quote
Is it Tri-Core because there'll be effectively three different cores on one chip?

Tbh, it sounds like a pretty mean feat of engineering.
Woodstock 5th December 2007, 01:31 Quote
tri-core is a we can do this but intel cant
The_Beast 5th December 2007, 23:51 Quote
^^^ Intel can they just don't want to waste time on something useless :D
Woodstock 6th December 2007, 00:07 Quote
not with their current design
Hwulex 6th December 2007, 02:37 Quote
I might be getting the wrong end of this 'ere stick, but if some of these new tri-core chips are just quad-cores with one disabled... err what's the freakin' point in that!?

If they're all there (same manuf cost) and just disabled (disabled, not crippled, as if to suggest they work, just not turned on) and they're selling the chips at a lower price, would it not make more sense to just enable all the cores and sell everyone quad-core chips at lower cost? They get more market share, and we get more powerful PCs. Everyone's a winner... right?

:?
kempez 6th December 2007, 13:25 Quote
I assume they are chips where the fourth core is just damaged or some part of it isn't working and it didn't make the binning process? If not it wouldn't make much business sense
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