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2010-02-28T22:43:04Z
If current rumors are to be believed, AMD's hexa-core Thuban processors are headed for desktops in the near future. First we'll see the new 890GX chipsets launching in March, with three Thuban models following on April 26. The new desktop processors will reportedly come in three flavors: Phenom II X6 1035T, 1055T, and the 1075T. We've got no idea what the numbers are supposed to represent in this case; drop a comment below if you've got a theory.

Thuban, like Phenom II, will be backwards-compatible and can drop into AM3/AM2+/AM2 boards if your motherboard manufacturer provides an appropriate BIOS update. This last has proven a bit sketchy in my own personal experience. Some motherboard manufacturers have proven more willing to provide the necessary updates than others. Hopefully the various OEMs will do the right thing on this one. Several years ago, AMD's high-end first-generation Phenom processors required boards that could handle a TDP of 125-140W. Anyone with such a board should have no problems upgrading to a hexa-core processor.

The other bit of news on Thuban is that AMD will introduce a Turbo Boost-like technology that overclocks certain cores to improve performance while shutting down unnecessary cores to reduce power consumption. We don't know yet exactly how the feature will work (or what performance levels it will allow Thuban to reach), but with six cores on a 45nm process it's safe to bet that turning a few of them off gives the company a significant reservoir of power to work with.


AMD's roadmap of multi-core CPUs

We expect AMD to price Thuban aggressively against quad-core Core i7/Core i5 processors. While the typical real-world benefits of having six cores are debatable to say the least, the fact that AMD has six physical cores competing against the quad-core Nehalem w/Hyper Threading should work to Sunnyvale's advantage. Whether or not it'll be enough to overcome the performance-per-clock disparity between Intel and AMD, however, remains to be seen.  At present, AMD's Istanbul server Opterons top out at 2.8GHz with a TDP of 105W. The new enthusiast/desktop processors will probably follow a similar pattern; we're betting on a 2.4GHz-2.8GHz spread with all six cores enabled. Factor in AMD's Turbo Boost (whatever they end up calling it) and we might see top-end speeds at 3.2-3.4GHz depending on yields. Those of you who want low power and parallel processing will have to wait a bit, but you'll probably get a cookie. AMD already has a hexa-core 40W chip at 1.8GHz; odds are reasonable that we'll see an ultra-low-power desktop equivalent before the summer is out.
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InfinityzeN
2010-03-01T10:36:04Z

Well this is good news for AMD. But they really need to get their next generation chip out and it needs to be good.

Schmich
2010-03-01T11:01:03Z

Agreed, I might upgrade to this as my triple core sometimes isn't enough but I would rather have the next gen coming sooner and go for that. Assuming that they will deliver, at least "bang for the buck"-wise

Zestia
2010-03-01T12:20:27Z

I can't say I was crazy about the name at first - somehow the mental image of a person lollygagging downstream on an inner tube didn't quite sit with my notions of blazing computational power. However, after a little research I learned that Thuban describes a star that was once considered the north pole star and often relied upon by those who traveled in ancient times. I also learned that Th'uban means dragon in Arabic. Either one of those holds marketing relevance for a cpu. The question is, which did AMD have in mind? Please chime in.

rapid1
2010-03-01T12:29:11Z

I would imagine Dragon as they have a platform with the same name. I see why this is being released to beat Intel to the more than 4 core as a market announcement. However; I am really looking forward to seeing what there 8 core CPU does more so than this bread crumb. I am also more interested in seeing if they will both drop below 45nm as well as what and when bulldozer will hit the market. I am hoping with all this early or enhanced market release strategy AMD seems to be working in and on Bulldozer is also sped up release wise.

Cheezit
2010-03-01T14:45:59Z

Hmmmm this makes me want to abandon my intel q6600 and jump ship for AMD which I'm guessing AMD is after. The x58 is too much of a price point to upgrade to for the performance aspect. If AMD prices aggressively enough I and pretty sure a large portion of the dual core and quad core users will become AMD users. Besides everyone wants the underdog to win its the American way.

Komando_93
2010-03-01T16:44:45Z

AMD or Intel? i can't decide!!!

Xylem
2010-03-01T23:00:11Z

@Cheezit - Sailing in the same ship bro!!

The Current X58 platform is really way steep a climb from my Q6600. [:o] I would possible take the same AMD 6-core route till Bulldozer at the least. Still undecided though. One thing in favour of AMD is that the procs are backward compatible. I only wish their Bulldozer 8 core also is backward compatible to AM3. Then it will be really gr8 bang for each and every buck!!

Decision deferred till a full blown Comparo between the AMD & Intel. (Bung, bung bung, bung bung....) [:P]

Joel H
2010-03-01T23:02:36Z

Bulldozer will not be AM3-compatible.

realneil
2010-03-02T10:28:09Z

The Core i5-750 is a good replacement for a Q6600 and delivers a crapload of performance for the buck. The 1156 platform is a lot cheaper to get into and has better performance characteristics in many cases. (turbo has a wider range on 1156)

These new Thubans look promising, but I'll wait to see what they do in real world performance tests and see how they hold up to daily usage before I consider one.

rapid1
2010-03-02T15:36:50Z

I agree realneil. The one thing that I keep looking at is this, software today to the greater percentage even in games and high end applications doe not make use of four complete cores. I know this debate was had all over when everything started going from dual core to quad. I think you do get some measurable performance as well as multi-tasking improvements on the 4 core even if it only uses 3 cores. But 8,12 and up is kind of crazy. I am not saying I would not want one here, I am just wondering what the advantage will really be over a high end quad except for the fact that it will make them cheaper, and more affordable eventually.

RyuGTX
2010-03-04T18:20:46Z

I'm a gamer, so I usually only look at gaming benchmarks. Like others have said, multi-cores haven't yet really shined in games yet because games don't really take advantage of it. This is understandable because it is really difficult to program an efficient muti-threaded game. But as far as other applications (though probably not many), don't 3D modeling applications, encoding software, and Adobe products make good use of multiple cores?

rapid1
2010-03-05T03:52:05Z

Yes; 3D modeling applications, encoding software, and Adobe products make good use of multiple cores. As well a media production sound editing, media manipulations, architecture, Scientific, accounting, photo editing, servers and many other things. The big thing is right now the home entertainment area does not at least to a greater part make much use of anything over 2 cores. With this I basically mean games of any type, some do but most do not. Hopefully that will change soon, one of the big things about DX11 is it's abilities in that area, as well as some other things.

hack
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2010-03-06T22:27:58Z

i wanna ask a question.......

is it possible for AMD to.....

create a bulldozer core "supposedly using something new" to make a 6 core processor using 12 threads

make it use triple channel, and a new socket, because they wouldn't have choice anyway.

and make it 32nm.

ALSO, they have the Orochi and Zambezi coming out and it says 4/8 cores for the Orochi and i have no idea what that means.

OR if it's 4 through 8 cores (which would be bangin) or if it's just 4 cores and 8 threads (which would dissapoint me).

Somebody explain this to me and send it in an email

(don't quote i might rarely check this website).

theredvingian@gmail.com

hack
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2010-03-06T22:29:57Z

and what is fusion...?

and what's the difference between a 890 and 790 board?

besides the overall chipset and 4000 series vs 4290 series integrated graphics card?

I mean in like speed, size, clocks and stuff.