Is AMD's triple-core Phenom no more than marketing hyperbole?

Summary:Today I'm coming across a fair bit of coverage of AMD's triple-core Phenom processor - but is it anything more than marketing hyperbole?

Today I'm coming across a fair bit of coverage of AMD's triple-core Phenom processor - but is it anything more than marketing hyperbole?

AMD Phenom, codenamed Toliman
What we know about the triple-core Phenom (codenamed "Toliman") is sketchy - it has three cores and will be out in Q1 2008.  That's it.  No pricing information.  No clock speeds.  What there is spade loads of is marketing hype.  However, when reading through AMD's info on the triple-core Phenom I did come across this interesting statement:

In addition, triple-core processors from AMD can provide significant performance advantages over similar dual-core AMD processors in key industry standard benchmarks, including SYSmark® 2007 and 3DMark™ 2006, as well as similar quad-core AMD processors in certain gaming and digital content creation scenarios.

This is easy to rationalize - AMD's current desktop processor lineup suck.  If Toliman couldn't deliver a performance advantage over AMD's existing lineup then what would be the point of releasing it.  What really matters is how it compares to Intel's lineup, and not Intel's current range, but what they have out at the time Toliman is launched.

Call me cynical, but I can't help but feel that all AMD is trying to do here is fragment the processor market and cause consumer confusion.  Most people buying PCs aren't going to know (or care) about benchmarks, they're going to assume that three cores is better than two and buy accordingly. 

Maybe AMD is onto something here though.  After all, has H.L. Mencken once said "No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."  Me, I think I'll wait until I see some real benchmarks.


Topics: Processors


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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