AMD imagines on-board physics processors, 8-core gaming platforms

Even with a Core 2 processor that reportedly is breaking benchmark records one after another these days, AMD is not going to hand over the processor performance crown without a fight. "4x4," announced on 1 June, will become AMD's tool to answer Intel's challenge on the very high-end of consumer processors.

"4x4 is a bit of my child. I always felt that, to a degree, there was no reason why we wouldn't bring workstation class technology to the gaming industry," said Richard in an interview with Patrick Schmid, managing editor of Tom's Hardware. The executive, known as an avid gamer in the industry, suggested that there is plenty of room for scalability in 4x4 to increase the performance capability of high-end gaming systems.

"My definition [of the technology] actually is 4x4x4x4x4. Four processors, 4 GPUs, fed by 4 [GB] of memory, four hard drives and four times the fun." While the platform will be limited to two dual-core processors, for a total of four cores, Richard promised an expansion for 2007. "What's really cool [about the technology] is that it's quad-core compatible, which means that sometimes next year you will be able to move from 4-core to eight-core."

Game developers are still struggling to move from single-threaded games to a first phase of multi-threading today; gamers will only be able to take advantage of the added performance of additional cores, if multithreading makes its way into the game industry quickly. Richard mentioned that AMD is working "actively" with game developers to remove the secrets of programming multithreaded software.

Two or more sockets on a motherboard do not necessarily need to be occupied by two processors. According to Richard, AMD also thinks about putting physics capability to one socket and a traditional processor on the other.

Dual-socket motherboards are currently developed and will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

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