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Unannounced AMD Athlon II X3 may feature unlockable fourth core

by Parm Mann on 28 April 2009, 14:45

Tags: Athlon II X3 405e, AMD (NYSE:AMD)

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Over the past few months, the rumour mill has been suggesting that AMD will introduce a new series of 45nm Athlon processors in June '09 dubbed Athlon II - available in dual-core, tri-core and quad-core variants, codenamed Regor, Rana and Propus, respectively

Though we've no official confirmation from AMD itself, motherboard manufacturer ASRock seems to have been toying with the new parts and has revealed an interesting tidbit.

According to the Taiwanese outfit, the yet-to-be-announced tri-core AMD Athlon II X3 405e might be able to make use of a disabled fourth core by using the BIOS tweak first discovered on the existing AMD Phenom II X3.

According to ASRock's self-proclaimed "incredibly outstanding engineers", enabling the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) function is known to transform a select number of parts into fully-functional quad-core derivatives. Note however, that the tweak won't be applicable to all Athlon II X3 chips and ASRock tells us a certain percentage failed to upgrade.

The potential performance boost might be something of a lottery, but ASRock's revelation does tell us something - tri-core Athlon IIs are certainly in the pipeline, and they'll support DDR2 or DDR3 memory depending on platform, feature 512KB of L2 cache per core, and be completely stripped of L3 cache. Essentially a cheaper, trimmed-down Phenom II.

HEXUS Forums :: 1 Comment

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Given the large amount of cache on Phenom IIs, I can't see an Athlon II X4 costing more than a Phenom II X3 (that simply wouldn't make sense), so does this mean quad core is coming to the budget market? Athlon II X4 for less than £100? Yowzers!