AMD announced today a quad-core chip for desktop PCs, replacing the Athlon processor with the new "Phenom" design, available on the second half of 2007 and also a dual-core chip based on a similar design called the Phenom X2 will be available by the end of the year.
AMD's current line of desktop chips ranges from the high-end Athlon 64 FX to the Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 and entry-level Sempron. After launching Phenom, AMD will offer a high-end Phenom FX (in one or two quad-core chips), Phenom X4 and Phenom X2 (in quad-core and dual-core), Athlon X2 and Sempron.
AMD will position the upcoming Phenom chips against Intel's Core 2 Duo. The chips will share a similar architecture to the upcoming "Barcelona" quad-core chip which AMD is hoping to compete against Intel's quad-core Xeon.
AMD is desperate to get the new chips on the market, to regain some market share from Intel and its quad-core Xeon and dual-core Core 2 Duo chips launched in 2006. Just a few days ago AMD posted a $611 million loss for the first quarter of 2007. AMD is betting on a superior performance on their quad-core chips, thanks to their design being based on a single chip with four directly linked cores as opposed to Intel's "multichip modules" which are essentially two of Intel's dual-core chips welded together in a package.