Exclusive: Dell Set To Introduce AMD Tri-Core Phenom

Round Rock (TX) - Still think that Dell is dropping AMD? Think again: TG Daily got to the bottom of the Dell/AMD rumors and discovered that Dell is far from dropping its AMD line-up. In fact, there will be a surprise in new products scheduled for a global launch next week, on February 19.

Dell has developed a new line of AMD-based machines for businesses under the OptiPlex brand. At first sight, you won't see a lot of changes from the old Dimensions C and E series, which were the first AMD system from Dell. The new features are under the hood.

Code-named "Heineken", the official names of these new computers will be OptiPlex 740 and 740 Enhanced. The OptiPlex 740 comes with either a single or a dual-core Athlon 64 and GeForce 6150LE graphics/chipset combinations. The 740 Enhanced introduces triple-core and quad-core Phenom processors. These Phenoms are mounted on GeForce 6150LE/nForce 430 motherboards, but oddly enough, Dell will not use an integrated graphics subsystem.

The manufacturer opted to continue to use the old motherboard, while the graphics subsystem will be Nvidia's Quadro NVS 210S, a decent entry-level card for the multi-monitor era. One of the more interesting system specs is the number of USB 2.0 ports, which is set at seven (the Intel-based OptiPlex 745 features eight ports).

We expect these two machines to end up in thousands of cubicles and offices around the world, but Dell has more plans with AMD. There are new AMD consumer systems scheduled for launch in the upcoming back-to-school period, in line with the announcement of the Peruses platform - which is a combination of AMD's triple-core or quad-core Phenom processor, AMD's new chipset as well as ATI RV7x0 based graphics cards: The RV740 will be at the entry level and the RV770 + R700 on the high end.

For the corporate world, the company planning with Nvidia's GeForce 8200, an mGPU chipset that is set to arrive during the second quarter of this year. This chipset is planned to upgrade the graphics performance from the current 6150LE and 6150, which are basically cut-down GeForce 6200 chips. The introduction schedule should provide Dell with enough time for qualification and implementation into its next-gen business machines - the successors of Dimension C/E and OptiPlex machines this article is about.

Processor details

Despite the technical specs, we noticed that some Dell employees think that the AMD Phenom processor comes with 128 kB of L1 cache, 512 kB of L2 cache, and 2 MB of L3 cache. However, it actually comes with 512 kB L1 cache (128 kB per core) and 2 MB of L2 cache (512 kB per core). But they are spot-on when it comes to the amount of L3 cache. Thus, a triple-core processor actually has 384 kB of L1 cache, 1.5 MB of L2 cache and 2 MB of L3 cache. The reason for the odd numbers here is that one core is disabled for good, thus its L1 and L2 caches are gone.

All in all, next week's launch of the new OptiPlex machines is hopefully going to put an end to all the naysayers who are claiming that Dell is dumping AMD.

Also, we have been saying for a while that the Phenom triple-core may turn out as AMD's ace against Intel's dual-cores: In a world that has changed from focusing on Megahertz to the number of cores, the perception that three cores are better than two may work in AMD's favor - at least if the triple-cores are priced against the dual-cores and AMD isn't taking a hit with the production cost.