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We were first hinted on a shortage of Core mobile CPUs from Intel last month and it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon.
According to a fresh report over at PCWorld, available 32nm Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 notebook processors for partners are lessening and it's apparently causing some laptop makers to postpone launches by up to three months or more.
Another downside to the shortage is cost. A bidding war has been triggered for these parts out of desperation which has shown price hikes of as much as 20%, which of course will be pushed onto the consumer.
As a result, it opens the doors wider for AMD to gain some more market share in what is one of the fastest growing segments in the PC industry.
It's a big day for AMD today as they officially launch their latest and greatest desktop parts to market; the highly anticipated Phenom II X6 (six-core Thuban) processor range and a co-inciding chipset refresh in the form of the 890FX.
The highlight of Phenom II X6 isn't so much the fact it comes packed with six physical cores inside, rather how much (or little, I should say) you pay to get hold of this six-core grunt.
While Phenom II X6 was never expected to overtake Intel's new six-core monster (the Core i7-980X) in the performance catagory, it does when looking at the range from a value perspective. The top dog 1090T (3.2GHz) model that we reviewed in full today can be had for less than a third of what you'll pay for Intel's six-core chip at around $300.
890FX boards have been leaking out for a short while already. While Phenom II X6 is backward compatible with the AM2+/DDR2 platform as well as older AM3 chipsets, 890FX brings a nice refreshment in the top-end segment that takes over where the well regarded 790FX chipset leaves off and would be the ideal partner for your new Thuban six-core chip. We will have our first full 890FX chipset review online shortly which will outline new technologies and feature-sets this chipset brings with it.
In the meantime, you can check out a bunch of coverage on the new Phenom II X6 processor family via the below links :-
- Hot Hardware
- Hardware Heaven
- PC Perspective
- Hardware Secrets
- Overclockers Club
- Toms Hardware
- Legit Reviews
- Hardware Canucks (890FX Chipset)
- Hardware Canucks (X6 CPU)
- Lost Circuits
- Hi Tech Legion
- Benchmark Reviews
In the CPU wars one of the things that gets thrown back and forth is how much power the CPU uses. IN some cases we see high numbers that are excused by high performance while other times a lower performing CPU might be labeled "efficient".
With all of this going back and forth it is interesting to note that Intel's Sandy Bridge could see a rather impressive 25% reduction in power over Intel's current Core i7 usage. This number is very surprising given some of the TDPs we have seen in the not too distant past. A 25% reduction is even more impressive when you consider that Nehalem, Lynnfield and Clarkdale are already fairly efficient in their own rights.
VIA is excited to have announced today its new Nano E-series processors targeted for use in embedded applications.
Features wise, the most noteable additions to this new family of Nano chips includes native 64-bit support and virtualization technologies. Full highlights include :-
World's most power-efficient out-of-order x86 architecture
Full support for 64-bit operating systems
High-performance superscalar processing
Most efficient speculative floating point algorithm
Full CPU virtualization support
Advanced power and thermal management
Leading-edge hardware security features
Pin-to-pin compatibility with VIA Nano, VIA C7 and VIA Eden Processors
DDR2 and DDR3 memory support
The Nano E series processors are fully compatible with VIA's VIA VX800 and VIA VX855 chipsets as well as the forthcoming VIA VX900 and VIA VN1000 digital media chipsets that provide hardware acceleration for demanding HD video codecs.
The new family of Nano E series processors are available in speeds from 800MHz through 1.8GHz. Full details can be found in the press release here.
AMD has been talking up its new CPU/GPU hybrid chip since February that is called Llano. The new processor would put the graphics right on the CPU for performance and less space.
AMD CEO Dirk Meyer talked at the AMD earnings call about Llano a bit. Meyer reportedly said Llano would see volume production in the latter half of 2010.
Meyer also stated that Llano is already sampling to select customers. Apple is also rumored to be one of these select customers, which dovetails nicely with the rumors that Apple is looking at AMD processors.
We've known for a while now about "Zosma" which is the codename for AMD's Phenom II X4 900T series of processors scheduled for launch soon after the company's X6 (six-core) "Thuban" processors hit the market; on the 26th of this month to be exact.
Zosma is basically a cut down version of Thuban with two cores disabled, giving the potential to unlock the other two cores and get a six-core Phenom for quad-core Phenom money (sub-$200 bracket).
But as was the case with earlier Phenom II X2 and X3 processors, unlocking was always a case of hit and miss where some could do it successfully, others not a chance.
However, good news has come in early about Zosma with OCWorkbench getting confirmation from one of its testers that he was able to unlock the two hidden cores on his Zosma sample as well is being able to make use of Turbo Core technology at the same time. The board he used to achieve this was an ASRock 980GX Extreme3 based on the AMD 890GX+SB850 chipset.
Two Zosma based Phenom II X4s will first be released in the X4 960T and X4 940T operating at 3.3GHz and 3GHz respectively. Turbo Core will give the ability to have these clock rates pushed up to 500MHz higher (depending on the model) on two of the four cores; three out of six cores if the processor's been unlocked.
We're only a few weeks away before AMD hits the market with its new crop of six-core processors in the Phenom II X6 family and some U.S. retailers have decided to jump the gun, giving listings for the parts with pricing mentioned.
Pre-orders from one retailer on the 1090T (3.2GHz) model show it with associated pricing of $318, though another reseller has it listed for a fair whack more at $350, but that reseller also has the 1055T listed for $240, too.
The Phenim II X6 series should fare pretty well with there being quite a hole in Intel's lineup here. Yes, it has the mighty i7-980X in its arsenal for super six-core grunt, but at $999 it's hardly an option for the majority of buyers out there.
Meanwhile, AMD will have gives six-core models with much more attractive pricing, not to mention the easier upgrade path for mainstream buyers wanting a multi-processing powerhouse.
In other Atom related news from Intel, the company detailed at its Deveoper Forum in Beijing yesterday more about its plans for 'Tunnel Creek', the codename behind its System-on-Chip (SoC) it's working on for embedded applications such as media phones, printers and in-vehicle infotainment systems.
This piece of silicon will be packed with an Atom processor core, memory controller hub ans also graphics+video engines; it's being positioned to take on SoC solutions based around ARM archecture. Intel are proud to take on this market segment with its SoC solution reducing the bill of materials and saving on board real estate for embedded apps.
For further details on Intel's plans for its first Atom processor based System=on-chip, check out the full announcement over here.
With the date drawing closer we new get a first look at the packaging for AMD's Phenom II X6 (six-core) processor range thanks to the folks at EXPreview coming through with the goods.
One aforementioned new feature apart from the additional cores packed in that makes this series of processors attractive (apart from the sub $300 pricing), is that of AMD's new Turbo Core technology.
We first heard about this new form of automatic overclocking technology a couple weeks back. In basic terms it allows the processor to enter a "Boost state" when it detects low multi-thread performance, shutting down three of the six cores and giving the remaining three a peformance jump of up to 500MHz higher than the stock clock rate, thus improving overall performance substantially in situations where the extra raw MHz is going to be harnessed better than additional cores.
The lads at Techpowerup have gotten hold of some more slides that help detail the way it works :-
Turbo Core technology will also be implemented into AMD's upcoming quad-core processor lineup, the Phenom II X4 900T (Zosma) range.
The folks at Tech Report have been able to ascertain that AMD will in fact be incorporating a dynamic clock speed boosting feature into their Six-core Phenom II family of processors which works similarly to Intel's Turbo Boost feature.
AMD calls this Turbo Core technology and it will go into action when it detects that not all of the CPUs cores are fully occupied by raising the clock speeds on active cores well above the default frequency whilst keeping the CPU's thermal limits in check.
As you can see above, Tech Report got hold of a slide from AMD that helps describe the way it works internally and there's a more detailed breakdown on it at the source.