AMD Confirms Triple-Core Chip On Roadmap

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It appears that Phenom, the new brand initially believed to be built solely around AMD's first quad-core desktop chip due out in December, will be marketed to enthusiasts, OEMs and the custom system builder channel in both mid-range, triple-core and high-end, quad-core flavors.

"Triple-core is the mid-range product for 2008," said AMD marketing VP Bob Brewer at a press lunch Monday in San Francisco.

Asked if most consumers wouldn't just opt for the full quad-core if they were upgrading from dual-core, Brewer said AMD believes a mid-range multi-core product could attract budget-conscious shoppers. He said that while technologists and industry experts might not grasp the value of a triple-core processor, that "this is something that naturally resonates with consumers."

"They see, quite simply, that 'n-plus-one' is better than just 'n'," Brewer said.

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AMD had ample motivation to announce the triple-core Phenom news when it did. Internet rumors began building into a storm over the weekend. And Brewer admitted that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker wasn't averse to taking some of the spotlight away from its main rival, Intel, on the eve of the Intel Developers Forum at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

The triple-core announcement seems like a particularly opportunistic stab at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip leader. Though Intel came out with its quad-core product last December, its current chip architecture makes the production of a triple-core chip impossible. AMD, with its native multi-core design featuring independent power supplies to each individual core on a die, can and apparently will produce one sometime early next year.

Monday's announcement offered AMD a chance to rub it in a little.