With a fresh cash infusion of between $550 million and $700 million from Abu Dhabi's Mubdala Development, AMD is rolling out its “Spider Platform," which includes the new Phenom processors (desktop versions of the quad-core Barcelona), HD3800 series graphics (rolled out last week) and the new 790 chip set.
With this platform approach (see Techmeme) AMD hopes to have a hot holiday season with PCs for gaming and entertainment, delivering HD, multimedia content in a more quiet, energy efficient and less costly system than the typical ultra-gamer boxes, according to Patrick Moorhead, AMD vice president of marketing. "People want to bridge the gap between gaming and the PC with HD," he said. The platform supports enhanced HDMI connectivity with integrated HDCP and audio for HDMI video.
Rick Bergman, general manager of AMD's graphics group, said a key to the platfrom is the CrossFireX capabilities, which supports up to four graphic cards on a single system and up to eight displays. A "Fusion" chip that integrates a CPU and GPU on a single die is slated for the end of 2008 or early 2009.
The Spider platform turns a PC into a real-time 3D rendering machine. "It begins to bridge the gap to final film quality with real-time graphics," Jules Urbach of Otoy told me. He was demoing his software, which does cinematic quality 3D rendering in a browser, on the Spider platform during AMD's press tour. "Eventually we will see films rendered in real-time and they won't look any different [from films that require hours per frame to render]."
AMD's new Overdrive console (below) give users lots of control of the system, with overclocking of the CPU, memory and chip set as well as voltage and memory tuning. It also features a novice mode for the uninitiated and autoclocking mode that improves system performance based on trial and error. "It the first time this much control has been available from a hardware company," said Phil.Eisler, senior vice president and general manager, Chipset and Notebook Business Unit at AMD.
The combination of elements in the Spider platform could add up to solid win for AMD in one of its core markets and provide validation of its ATI acquisition. Now that OEMs are bringing Spider systems to market we'll see if the price/performance claims hold up and whether enthusiast buyers open their wallets.
Below is a promotion video from AMD explaining the Spider platform