AMD's 4x4 solution looks promising

By Justin Mann on October 20, 2006, 7:01 PM
It's clear by now that Intel has beat AMD to an effective quad-core solution by a significant margin. Coming this January, Intel will launch the first in their series of quad core CPUs, with AMD's answer still in the dark to many. For those that think AMD is slipping, however, there's a really good look into the AMD 4x4 platform that is just around the corner. While relying on two dual-core CPUs, the 4x4 platform seems to be specifically geared towards high performance in “enthusiast” applications:

AMD officials also spoke to their effort with 4x4 as a platform "inspired by enthusiasts". Multiple 4x4 processor bundles will be brought to market and although not officially confirmed, we've since learned that speeds ranging from 2.6GHz to 3GHz will be brought to the table.
AMD's approach to multicore is also far different from Intel's, in which Intel is much more reliant on having a speedy bus that all cores must share, whereas AMD thinks they have an advantage with independent links:

While Kentsfield in all likelihood will scale nicely in mutli-threaded applications and under heavy multi-tasking scenarios, the chip still shares a single front side bus, which unlike AMD's dedicated HT links for each dual core CPU, is a shared-bus architecture and potentially not as efficient.
AMD has a few more tricks up their sleeve as an answer to Kentsfield. While they now own ATI, AMD is still planning to use the very popular nVidia chipsets, though the exact name of which hasn't been revealed. Touting support for up to four x16 PCI-Ex cards and a massive 12 SATA II interfaces on a single board, it's a lot of hardware packed into a small amount of space. A coup de grâce to Intel would be the cost of two CPUs for a 4x4 system being less than a single quad core, but official pricing on compatible CPUs from AMD hasn't been announced yet. Given the price of the higher end FX class CPUs, that will be one difficult for AMD to pull off.

User Comments: 7

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peas said:
as I don't have time to rummage through the marketing trough... why are they calling it "4x4" when it's really two dual core CPUs? Seems like they should really call it "2x2" (which equals 4). 4x4 = 16. Am I missing something?
spydercanopus said:
Great point peas. AMD is struggling. Instead of spending all that money buying ATI they should have spent it on processors.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
Stop trying to make sense, peas :p
wild9 said:
I don't see how Intel has beat AMD on quad-core solutions, not unless we base this lead purely on release dates. Intel can come first or last, it doesn't change the fact that AMD has a significant following especially in server markets.To be honest I doubt whether AMD is actually interested in becoming first to hit the shelves with a new product - AMD has historically countered Intel - not dropped bait, and this is the case here. As mentioned, the 4x4 platform will use a potentially superior and all-important, hyper transport system instead of a common FSB connecting each of the 4 cores.If that means taking another route to the top instead of throwing all one's eggs in one basket (and eradicating most of your own products in the process), then so be it. Let's not forget what it has taken for Intel to finally deliver a worthy product - the Core 2 Extreme - to the masses; whether Intel is actually in a viable enough position to repeat this with subsequent designs remains to be seen. Let's also not forget what the Core and Quad Extreme's are competing against: an AMD design that is a few years old, so AMD must be doing something right..Coming second is sometimes better than coming first and allows AMD to optimise its products.
wild9 said:
There are also other, emerging trends that may make synthetic CPU performance less of a deciding factor.For example there are plans to develop customisable chipsets, as to offload tasks to dedicated and interchangeable DSP processors.In this respect it is crucial to have an efficient I/O design right from the start because in the long-run this will win out.
carl0ski said:
[b]Originally posted by peas:[/b][quote]as I don't have time to rummage through the marketing trough... why are they calling it "4x4" when it's really two dual core CPUs? Seems like they should really call it "2x2" (which equals 4). 4x4 = 16. Am I missing something?[/quote]it has something to do with the scaling4x Nvidia cards in Dual SLI4x AthlonFX core
zephead said:
they'd better do something...
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