AMD Preparing for Nov. '4x4' Launch

The Taiwanese electronics industry daily DigiTimes is citing motherboard manufacturers there as saying they're gearing up now for production of new models that will support three new AMD premium processors.

The new FX-70, -72, and -74 models, DigiTimes was told, will effectively launch AMD's new premium platform, currently code-named '4x4.' Motherboards supporting this platform will be unique because they'll feature two CPU sockets, not just one, with each Socket 1207 designed to support dual-core CPUs.

This is a connector design generally used for Opterons rather than Athlons, so manufacturers are warning this could drive the price of premium systems up even further.

But the very introduction could drive current FX-series processor prices, such as those for the FX-62 and FX-60, down, enabling AMD to argue they're more price competitive than comparable Intel models. A mid-November launch for '4x4' would be right in time with Intel's anticipated introduction of its first consumer-grade quad-core processor, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700.

AMD will have a difficult, though not impossible, case to make for its architectural strategy. A key design decision several years ago regarding its so-called crossbar connection enabled the company to adopt dual-processor/dual-core architecture today without having to radically change its fabrication processes.

Meanwhile, Intel is readying four cores on one die, and not with 90 nm lithography like AMD, but with 65 nm, reportedly with lower power consumption. Come November, AMD may have to prove its mettle with both high performance and compelling value.

AMD declined to comment on the report.

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