AMD plans for the three-core Phenom X3 processor was well outlined last month when the CPU maker disclosed that it would begin selling such chips through OEM partners initially only.

The new Phenom X3 processors 8400 (2.1GHz) and 8600 (2.3GHz) have started to find its way into the retail channel this month from sub-$800 desktop systems from HP, eMachines and Gateway. All of the systems seem to have in common specifications that include 2-3 GB of memory, lots of storage space using single 7200rpm drives, and integrated graphics. So the proposition is definitely an interesting one that goes beyond the days of budget Celeron-powered machines, or at least that's what AMD wants consumers to appreciate.

"The value proposition is simple. Three cores versus two cores. You make the choice," Pat Moorehead, VP of Advanced Marketing at AMD, said in a recent interview.

This first batch of systems are shipping with B2 Phenoms however, which means those carry the TLB bug. In our recent tests we found no problems with the B2 chips, but it's a concern nonetheless. It's not too hard to imagine that once AMD gets rid of this batch of processors, it will begin to ramp up distribution to the retail channel with B3 three-core Phenoms that could wind up gaining momentum if they are priced aggressively enough.