Advanced Micro Devices
will continue along the single-core path for its video game-focused processors, in contrast to rival
, which began its dual-core efforts with gaming chips.
On Monday, AMD expanded its slate of gaming chips with the introduction of a faster processor, the Athlon 64 FX-57, that solidifies AMD's gaming pipeline for the remainder of the year.
AMD's gaming lineup now consists of two processors, the FX-57 and the FX-55, an existing chip. This is a first for AMD, as it had previously ceased producing an existing gaming processor when introducing a new version.
"We think growth is such that we can support two now," says Jonathan Seckler, Athlon 64 product manager. "I think this is an indicator of the size of the market."
AMD will price the FX-57 at $1,031. It runs at 2.8 GHz and is built on 90-nanometer process technology and will contain several added features that the FX-55 did not have. The FX-55, which runs at 2.6 GHz and is built on 130-nanometer process technology, will remain priced at $827.
This is also an indication that AMD still sees its single-core processing strategy for gaming as the right one for the moment.
AMD has launched dual-core processors for servers and desktop computers, but it has not pushed this architecture into its gaming chips. Intel, on the other hand, rolled out its first dual-core processors on its Pentium Extreme Edition, which is targeted at gamers.
Seckler says games aren't yet available that can take advantage of multiple processing cores, and until that time AMD won't shift its FX line beyond single cores. He anticipates such games will be out in the middle of next year. "When those games are out there, we will shift the FX to a dual-core product," he says.
Dual-core chips are supposed to help alleviate processing bottlenecks that typically occur when simultaneous applications are running or when very compute-intensive applications are running.
A traditional microchip contains a single processing core with its performance improved through faster cycle times, but the increasing complexity of chips is making it harder to extract performance gains simply from speed boosts.
Instead, chip manufacturers are placing more than one processing core on a single piece of silicon to handle multiple data threads simultaneously. This type of architecture can also improve a chip's efficiency and power consumption through using only one of two cores if needed.