AMD confirms six-core desktop CPU

Get ready for six-core Phenom IIs. Confirming an earlier report from the rumor mill, Maximum PC says it has received word from "AMD officials" that the company will indeed release six-core desktop processors next year.

Reportedly, the CPUs will bear the Thuban code name and squeeze six cores plus a DDR3 memory controller onto a 45-nm die. Not too surprisingly, the story adds that Thuban will be "backwards compatible with existing AM3 and AM2+ motherboards."

Maximum PC draws parallels with Istanbul, the six-core Opteron design AMD launched in June. That part only supports DDR2 memory, though. As we pointed out when discussing the rumor, Thuban will in all likelihood be based on AMD’s second-gen six-core silicon, Lisbon, which will launch next year as part of a new C32 platform with DDR3 support.

Intel also has a six-core processor on the way: Gulftown, which will launch next year and should pop into existing X58 motherboards. Considering the performance delta between quad-core Phenom IIs and Core i7s, however, we wouldn’t expect Thuban to compete directly with Gulftown.

Comments closed
    • puppetworx
    • 10 years ago

    Too right! I can’t afford AM3 or Socket 1337 (or whatever it is) let alone the DDR3 to stick in the bitch.

    I have to say I’m not yet that impressed. Intel are hitting up the 32nm production and looking at 22nm; in terms of server farms that’s gonna be a huage power saving, in terms of clock speed that’s gonna be off the charts. Hexas might make sense now in servers, but current home use quads are under utilised as it is. My instincts say folders, fanboys and the clueless will buy it e.g. Clueless person walks into shop looking for quad-core, pc salesperson says “but look at this bitch running a V6, yo!” – insta-sale. Gamers can still get away with highly clocked duals, if anything they’ll move to highly clocked triples or quads, unless they clock like a mudder. I want to be impressed, but until we see a bitch on the bench I’m not.

    I think AM2+ has a more restricted bandwidth to the PCI bus so multi-gpu’s are inhibited.

    *oops shouldve been a rply to #8 derFunkenstein

    • heinsj24
    • 10 years ago

    Reply was intended for #8

    The price argument is getting old.

    At Newegg, OCZ 2 x 2GB (PC 8500) is the same price for a kit whether you buy DDR2 or DDR3. Sure performance memory will cost more. However, this is true for for both DDR3 and DDR2.

    • Thanato
    • 10 years ago

    I wonder if it’s a 8 core cpu with 2 disabled…

      • Game_boy
      • 10 years ago

      Why would it be? AMD isn’t planning any native eight-core products on desktop or server; the eight-core Magny-Cours is two quad-core dies.

    • Game_boy
    • 10 years ago

    It’s not using the same die as Istanbul.

    §[<http://www.amdzone.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=136784&p=166907#p166907<]§ In the past JF has talked about there now being seperate server and desktop dies (Istanbul being the first). By extension, it's probably not based on the server Lisbon either. Hence, the die size and cache specs especially could be very different from either die on the final product.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 10 years ago

      Why would they double their R&D expenses? That makes no sense.

    • StuG
    • 10 years ago

    Still an exciting event, even though it (might) just be slapping more cores onto a Phenom II. If its anything more than that, we could have a real contender on our hands. Maybe if AMD does a bit of overhauling to the architecture and tries to battle the i7 for a bit before gulf-town releases. Would be fun to see….though next year doesn’t truly put it on track for that.

    • TheEmrys
    • 10 years ago

    I have to say, for the first time in years I am curious to see how well an AMD chip will encode video.

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    Thuban? Thuban???

      • LoneHowler
      • 10 years ago

      Thuban. Alpha Draconis.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      Nothing wrong with AM2+ if you are re-using DDR2. If you have to buy RAM anyway, it is arguable, though in no way conclusive, IMO, that DDR3 is the smarter choice.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        I understand that it’s your opinion, as well as the popular opinion, but I don’t get WHY. DDR3 costs more and there’s no performance benefit, and AMD is continuing to support DDR2.

        Eventually there will be a cost benefit but that’s it as far as I can tell. The only way DDR3 would be a smart choice is to change at least one of these three:

        strike 1: cost
        strike 2: no performance beneft
        strike 3: AMD continues to support DDR2.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          DDR3 will be lower power (eventually, anyway). DDR2 is going to be more expensive soon. (Though if you’re willing to buy used memory, there’s going to be a glut of that for a /[

            • DreadCthulhu
            • 10 years ago

            You mean something like this?
            §[<https://techreport.com/articles.x/16255<]§

            • derFunkenstein
            • 10 years ago

            eventually yes, but if you’re building today, it’s not the future. Recommending DDR3 because “someday it’ll be cheaper” doesn’t help if you already spent the money.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Costs are a lot closer than they used to be. The days of 2x2GB JEDEC spec DDR2 for like $25 are gone.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 10 years ago

            Maybe, but 2x2GB JEDEC spec DDR2 are still cheaper than 2x2GB DDR3. And the motherboards (for some reason) are, too. That money can very rightly go somewhere else – a faster CPU, better GPU, nicer case, whatever.

            it’s not the “future-proofing” end-all that so many people made it out to be in the last system guide. I think it’s just a case of people wanting the “best” without thinking about whether or not it’s worth it.

            Don’t get me wrong, one of those three thigns I listed will change. Either AMD will drop DDR2, DDR3 prices will drop below DDR2, or AMD will refine the memory controller to get something useful out of DDR3. Until that happens, it’s just a waste of money.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Yeah, depends upon how close you want to call ‘close enough.’ The difference is no longer huge, like near $100, as it was not terribly long ago. It’s actually too bad that DDR2 has spiked a bit because lots of lower-end systems where smaller differences do make an impact are the ones that get hurt.

          • tejas84
          • 10 years ago

          sorry but in my experience, AM2 DDR2 and AM3 DDR3 difference is like night and day.

          Maybe that is because I run a dual GPU setup. DDR3 AMD setups are far smoother and lag free.

          Sure it wont net you loads of fps in games or faster speeds in euler but there is a noticeable difference. That difference will become glaringly apparent with Thuban on DDR2.

      • shank15217
      • 10 years ago

      The 6 core might actually benefit from DDR3, don’t forget that.

      • Vaughn
      • 10 years ago

      I think you are going to run into some bandwidth limitations when running 6 core’s on DDR2. Hence the reason intel reduced lynnfield to dual channel as the 3rd channel didn’t do much with 4 cores. However your point still stands as a drop in replacement you can’t really complain you should still see added performance.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        The 3rd channel does plenty.

        Just not for desktop applications. Why would you need an enormous amount of RAM bandwidth if you aren’t actually moving an enormous amount of information through it? What is going to do that on a desktop?

    • tejas84
    • 10 years ago

    Oh hell yes. Boy am I glad I bought AM3 at its inception. Bring on Magny Cours and its 12 cours of power!! //shudder at lousy pun//

    Also Damage/Scott can you hurry up and break the NDA on the Radeon 5870/5850 already… I cant wait any longer…

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      I’m not sure if even the professional user has any possible use for so magny cours.

        • xmz
        • 10 years ago

        Once AMD finished their OpenCL implementation for both CPU and GPU, we should see something really interesting. Bring on more cores!

        • KinCT
        • 10 years ago

        I could use many (many) cores immediately. I am barely getting by on a quad core (Q6600) and 8 GB RAM. Gulftown will be a welcome addition with at least 12 GB (24 GB is outrageously costly).

        I run a number of VMs for my home lab – and once I get more than 3-4 VMs running (server OSes), start to run low on memory and then the pain begins.

          • tfp
          • 10 years ago

          That’s why there is a workstation market.

            • KinCT
            • 10 years ago

            Workstation = expensive

            Desktop = inexpensive

            This is coming out of my own pocket, I’ll opt for inexpensive, thank you. 🙂

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            When PCs first came out, I remember people saying “that’s why there are REAL (i.e., mainframe) computers”

            • tfp
            • 10 years ago

            your missing the point which isn’t a shock, the performance (or at least a large number of cores in one box) people want is there now but it cost more money. If you don’t have the money or don’t want to spend it you can always wait for something faster to move it’s way down the pipe.

        • cookwithvette
        • 10 years ago

        Anyone doing Computational Fluid Dynamics will typically need more cores than they can afford. CFD scales nicely with the number of cores. I’m sure small engineering firms are salivating at the thought of 6 and 12 core processors for workstations. Larger firms typically use compute clusters. I spoke with one team who would send their job out to the compute cluster (a 64 node system with quad-core processors in each node) and it would be a week or more before the computation would be done. More cores=happy engineers. 🙂

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        I’ve previously mentioned our AI application for public safety – we’ll take as many cores as we can get.

        • YellaChicken
        • 10 years ago

        Ta-bom, Tishh

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    AM2+, you say.
    It might follow that my upcoming motherboard purchase will have a longer life than expected.

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      Its going to be clocked lower than quad-core variants, to fit within the typical TDP spec of most AM2+/AM3 mobos.

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        I’ll decide for those clock speeds myself.

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