AMD counters Intel's Conroe with dual-socket gaming platform

Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD used a meeting with the press and analysts to provide some long-term information about its product strategy. Part of the roadmap is an answer to Intel's flagship processor Core 2 Extreme: AMD will launch a new platform with two sockets for two dual-core processors, handing gamers four physical cores.

In case you haven't read it at TG Daily before: 2006 will be recognized as one of the few years so far where fierce competition between AMD and Intel sparks one of the most interesting years for anyone who uses computers for more than preparing tax reports. Just yesterday, Intel demonstrated its Core 2 Extreme running at 2.93 GHz and lots of headroom for performance increases that are likely to pave the way into a whole new world of gaming and multimedia experience.

As expected, AMD has been working on an answer - and while the company does not have a new architecture, the manufacturer scales the current Athlon64 platform until the arrival of 65 nm production generation in Q4 2006 or Q1 2007. At least on the high end, the company believes that it will retain the performance crown with a system the company calls "4x4."

No, unfortunately this term does not describe four quad-core processor within one system. We are talking more about a "2x2" system - a dual-socket platform that is designed for two dual-core processors. The company did not provide a specific launch date, but mentioned that systems with four physical cores will become available during the second half of this year.

AMD justified the move not only with the increased performance that can be expected from Intel's processors, but also with firm's "roots in the enthusiast market." Product manager Brent Berry told TG Daily that "AMD saw significant success with the FX" line recently and felt that it was important that "the top end" gained performance. He did not provide exact performance or benchmark numbers, but he believes that the "dual-socket platform will be the fastest gaming platform by the end of this year."

It is unclear how capable AMD's 4x4 will be especially in the gaming segment, as increased threading still represents a challenge for many software developers. However, 4x4 is likely to have an immediate impact on computing performance as it will feature two independent DDR2 memory controllers, which, at least in theory, will double the memory bandwidth of the system.

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