News Just In: No Phenom II X4 960T for general release?by Ian Cutress on May 12, 2010 1:03 AM EST
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As a follow up to the news of new AMD processors covering various price points, our contact over at AMD has provided the following information:
"While there are indeed engineering CPU samples floating around of a 4-core Thuban 960T, I do not expect that processor will be released for general availability. Perhaps it may make its way to OEMs by special request, but that remains to be seen."
This is, to us, interesting news. A lot of AMD motherboard manufacturers have jumped on the core unlocking bandwagon, so that processors that are manufactured with more cores but have some turned off due to defects or to fill cheaper price points can potentially be unlocked. Thus any processor built on a quad core process but retails with three cores, could potentially have another core unlocked - such as the Phenom II X3 720 could be unlocked to the Phenom II X4 920. But, unlocking cores is a function of the processor itself - given the close price points of all the unlockable processors, it has always been suggested that you should buy the processor you want, rather than the potential of unlocking cores which may or may not be possible.
The theory has been that new quad cores may be released using AMDs six-core Thuban design, with the first product being called the Phenom II X4 960T. Due to the motherboard manufacturers, it has also been known that this quad core processor could be unlocked to the full six cores if the silicon allows it. However, given the statement above by AMD, no 960T may be seen at retail.
Various vendors currently have access to engineering samples of the Phenom II X4 960T, and with a quick blast on Google there are cases of unlocking both cores presented. However, this means little to the system builder that wants six cores on the cheap, if it can only be obtained by OEMs.
If there is no 960T at retail, what can we expect? We have little doubt that quad core processors based on six core dies will go on general release at some point this year - it would be an opportunity that AMD couldn't miss. However, we may have to wait until Q3 or Q4 this year to see the products.