AMD ships triple-core Phenoms

AMD has begun shipping triple core X3 Phenom processors in 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz versions

AMD has begun shipping its new triple-core processors for the desktop market, in a move that could sharpen its competitive edge against rival Intel.

The 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz triple-core Phenom X3s offer as much as a 30% performance improvement in some instances compared to a dual-core chip operating at the same frequency, claims AMD.

AMD first disclosed plans to make the Phenom X3 in 2007, saying then that a third core could be beneficial by taking care of background tasks, leaving two cores to run games or applications.

The company had a difficult 2007 as its full-year loss swelled to $3.38 billion (£1.68 billion) from a net loss of $166 million in 2006. Partly to blame was a design problem with its Barcelona server chip that AMD said was key to regaining its competitive edge against Intel.

The recently announced processors are aimed principally at the mainstream PC market, but also include a high-end Phenom Black Edition chip that video gamers can easily overclock. "Jon Carvill, AMD senior manager of PR: "The new Phenoms will add some much-needed muscle to our range," Jon Carvill, AMD's senior manager of PR told PC Pro.

"AMD is increasingly focused on the mainstream PC market and I think it will be quite competitive there," says analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.

AMD claims to have improved its execution so far in 2008, pointing to new graphics chips from ATI, and a new chipset that the company claims is receiving strong reviews.

"In the past, we've committed to some dates we weren't able to hit, but now the pieces are falling into place," claims "Ian McNaughton, senior product manager at AMD. "It's deeds, not words, for us now."

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