The quad-core era has been tough for AMD on the desktop front, but the company is hoping to turn things around with their forthcoming Phenom II chips, which are expected to launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this coming January – despite earlier rumors suggesting a release later this month.

Specifically the company will be introducing the enthusiast oriented Dragon platform – comprising the Phenom II processor, 790 series motherboard and HD4800 series card – which will replace the “Spider” platform that launched at the end of 2007 in conjunction with the first Phenom processor. Not many details are being shared at the time, but according to techPowerUp two high-end processors from the Phenom II X4 series will debut in January: the 2.8GHz Phenom II X4 920 and 3.0GHz Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition, with prices expected to be “much lower” than those of the Intel Core i7.

Both chips will run will run on AM2+ motherboards with DDR2 support, have 6MB L3 cache and a 125W TDP – they are also great overclockers as recent tests have shown. All in all, it will be very tough for AMD to compete with Intel’s new Core i7 desktop processor, but at the very least it is starting to look like the Phenom II X4 could make things interesting again.