Well it looks like our original report that AMD would be releasing desktop six-core processors in 2010, was not nearly as far off the mark as some speculated.
Attempting to hopefully steal a bit of the spotlight from Intel’s IDF conference announcements, AMD officially stated that they are on track to debut the 45nm “Thuban” hexacore processors as early as the third quarter of next year.
The new hardware will be compatible with the AM3 platform and includes an integrated DDR3+ 1333MHz controller and will likely be backwards compatible with the AM2+ platform. Backwards compatibility with existing motherboards and sockets, what a novel idea! The architecture will be very similar to the “Istanbul” Opteron server processors that is currently available from AMD, so we can expect to see a 3MB L2 cache (512KB/core) and a 6MB L3 cache. No details on clock speeds were mentioned, however it was alluded that they may not reach the same speeds are current quad cores due to the higher thermal output.
The release will also likely conicide with the completion of AMD “Leo” platform which will introduce the 890 chipset and have the upcoming, 5800 series video cards rounding out the AMD based computing solution.
Intel has already made public that they are pushing for a second quarter release of “Gulftown”, their six-core offering tagged as Core i9 and unfortunately with a total of 12 logical threads with Hyperthreading, it is going to be a tough gig for AMD to match performance; however, the company can play their best hand and beat the blue giant in the bang-to-buck ratio if they keep shelf pricing modest.