When four seems excessive but two is old hat, AMD has a tri-core processor based on its Phenom architecture to fill the interim. Mesh has announced that it has teamed up with AMD to release two systems based around the as-yet-unreleased Phenom 8400 and 8600 processors.
In the past, we've reported that AMD's tri-core Phenom processors may be simply quad-core chips with one of the four cores disabled
. It should still have 2MB of L3 cache, sit in an AM2+ socket and run the faster HyperTransport 3.0. Considering the performance of the quad core is, well... less than fantastic, where can the tri-core go?
The good thing then is that Mesh systems are very inexpensive
starting at just £499 with 2GB of memory as standard.
Yes, it's only
667MHz memory compared to the 1,066MHz bus speeds the Phenom architecture now supports, but thankfully memory bandwidth is less of an issue to AMD CPUs. However, at what price will they need to be to actively compete against something like the Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 or even the very inexpensive E2200?
Both of which are dual-core, meaning the tri-core Phenom should work better in multi-threaded CPU intensive tasks - gaming could benefit more as long as you're not GPU limited. Of course, it's all going to come down to price for performance and that's what will ultimately decide if a tri-core Phenom is an alternative that's far more cost efficient for those on a multi-threading budget.
Mesh isn't the only company to start showing off tri-core Phenom processors, as Dell has also announced a few business machines with the same tri-core Phenoms: the Optiplex 740 Enhanced
offers the whole range from dual-, tri- or quad-core AMD CPUs.
Could this potentially be the market niche and winner AMD is looking for? Are you interested in a tri-core Phenom for an inexpensive machine? Let us know your thoughts, in the forums