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AMD Announces Dual-Socket, Dual-Core '4x4' Platform

By Mark Hachman

Advanced Micro Devices is expected to announce a new dual-core, dual-processor platform later Thursday, in an attempt to roll over the competition in the enthusiast computing space.

Dubbed "4x4", the new enthusiast platform will debut at AMD's Technology Day in its headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Two Taiwan ODM system makers will launch 4x4 systems beginning in the second half of 2006, AMD executives said.

Patrick Moorhead, AMD's vice president of marketing, declined to comment directly on a report by RBC Capital Markets analyst Apjit Walia, which postulated that AMD was in a position to merge with or acquire Canadian graphics giant ATI Technologies. "I think that there's a lot to gain coming out with graphics folks," Moorhead said. "We're not a go-at-it alone type company; we're walking hand in hand with more folks."

When asked if Dell would be that customer, Moorhead initially remained silent. Dell acquired Alienware in March as an independent subsidiary, and Alienware former chief executive Nelson Gonzalez explained that his company would have the freedom to choose microprocessors from whatever supplier it wished. Dell's main PC division, however, has never marketed a PC with an AMD processor.

"We would always welcome Dell as a customer," Moorhead said. "I think it's going to be hard to play in the enthusiast space and ignore us."

4X4: the enthusiast market, evolved

According to Moorhead, the company's resurgence in the microprocessor market was built upon offering superior products to enthusiasts. In 2001, the company began preaching the virtues of performance measured in transactions per clock, rather than pure megahertz. In 2003, the Athlon FX offered an "unlocked" version of the microprocessor, returning enthusiasts to the early days of the PC, when users could push CPUs to their limits, Moorhead said.

The 4x4 initiative will be directly targeted at enthusiasts, according to Moorhead. Each socket will include an AMD Athlon64 X2 chip in a new AM2 socket, although what limitations will be placed on the clock speed will not be released until a future date, he said. Each socket will be connected using AMD's "Direct Connect" architecture, which already provides a dedicated channel from each of the CPU cores out to the system memory, and to each other. Due to the nature of the Direct Connect architecture, each CPU can access the other's dedicated memory store.

The 4x4 board will also tweak the front-side bus speed, according to Moorhead. The 4x4 architecture will use unbuffered, non-ECC DIMMs and AMD's "Pacifica" virtualization technology. "It's not a warmed-over workstation board," he said.

Moorhead also declined to comment on what type of cooling solution the new boards will require. Although AMD launched a line of 35-watt low-power desktop CPUs earlier this month, the company's standard Athlon64 and Athlon64 X2 processors will consume a maximum of 89 watts. "Expect a really unique cooling solution," Moorhead said.

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about AMD live

i just have to say that intel VIVII or whatever its called is not that great :(

a lot of expectation but it didnt turn out great

i dont know if AMD are going to come up with something special

but i think its not up to the processor guys or platform as they like to be called now to change that

is the all package that is the problem

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