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7/26/2006
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AMD To Offer Four Cores For Less Than $1K

AMD's upcoming 4x4 desktop--two dual-core Athlon 64 FX processors on a motherboard tuned for gaming--will start at less than $1,000.

Advanced Micro Devices Tuesday pledged to release a version of its upcoming enthusiast desktop product, code-name 4x4, at less than $1000.

Pat Moorhead, AMD's vice president of global channel marketing, said the 4x4—essentially two dual-core Athlon 64 FX processors on a motherboard tuned for gaming— will be released in multiple configurations. One configuration, he said, will consist of a "two CPU bundle configured at significantly less than $1,000."

"This will not be limited to just the elite enthusiasts," he said.

Moorhead spoke at to a group of journalists convened at AMD's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. AMD also demonstrated a version of the 4x4, but declined to let journalists view the 4x4 product. AMD officials have said the 4x4 will be released by the holiday season this year.

AMD's first announced the 4x4 at an analyst conference in June. At that time, Phil Hester, corporate vice president and chief technology officer, put up a slide that showed two dual-core FX processors coupled with two dual-core GPU ATI Crossfire or Nvidia SLI graphics cards. Pushing the 4x4 theme further, Moorhead said Tuesday that the platform performs particularly well with 4Gbyte of memory. With the 4x4 platform, each processor would have 2Gbytes of dedicated memory, he said.

Moorhead also said the 4x4 motherboards will be upgradeable to AMD's quad-core processors when they are released in 2007.

Rahul Sood, president and CTO of VoodooPC, a PC maker that services the enthusiast market, said the 4x4 platform will be particularly appealing to gamers who like to play two characters at one time. This is generally done by running the game on two different PCs. With the 4x4, however, Sood said gamers can run two instances of a game on one system.

"I have some really crazy customers," he said. "They are really passionate about playing games."

AMD also brought in two ISVs to demonstrate that several applications are already multithreaded and will benefit from the four cores available in the 4x4. Executives from Nero, a developer of multimedia authoring packages, and Luxology, maker of the 3D Modo application, said their applications can already take advantage of multiple core systems, such as the 4x4.

Moorhead said there are a few game patches available now that are multithreaded to take advantage of multicore systems, and more or coming. Intel, he noted, is also pushing game companies to develop more multithreaded games.

In June AMD announced that Bioware, Crytek, Havok Irrational Games, Midway and Sony are working on software applications and games that take advantage of multicore processing.

Intel has its own "four-core" desktop platform under development and is also expected to ship the product later this year.

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