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MSI Announces the Stylish FX610MX Performance Notebook

MSI has unveiled its all-new 15.6-inch F Series FX610MX laptop, featuring AMD's new generation Phenom II triple-core processor and the ATI Mobility Radeon HD5470 discrete graphics card (512MB DDR3 VRAM). It comes with MSI's exclusive GPU Boost and ECO technologies which switch display and power management modes to meet your current needs, allowing you to strike the ideal balance between powerful multimedia performance and battery life.

MSI Marketing Director Sam Chern explains that the FX610MX employs a cinema-class 16:9 ratio power-saving LED display, ideal for viewing films, as well as MSI's Cinema Pro multimedia technology to enhance display color and clarity. What's more, the exterior of the FX610MX is sheathed in MSI's own raised totem seal coating to give it an extra touch of class and protect it against scratching, wear, and smudging. It also comes with a seamless, multipoint touchpad. You won't want to go anywhere without it.

New Roadmap Shows AMD's Desktop Processor Portfolio for Rest of 2010

A set of new slides by AMD to sections of the industry spills the beans on AMD's processor offer outlook for perhaps the rest of the year. It shows AMD to maintain focus on value-oriented models that etch away Intel's market share on grounds of price/performance, while the higher-end of the spectrum keeps up with the latest technologies including the industry-wide advent of the six-core processor era, as well as new power-state management technologies such as TurboCore, which steps up clock speeds of certain cores of the processors while powering down others, which the load is low or less-parallel.

Front-line processor lineups include the Phenom II X6, and Phenom II X4, including a new T X4 series that includes TurboCore support. AMD's transition towards these chips from the existing Deneb-based quad-core ones starts within this quarter lasting throughout Q2 and part of Q3 2010. It includes Phenom II X4 960T, a 3.00 GHz (3.40 GHz turbo) chip based on the Zosma die. It goes up with the Phenom II X6 1035T, a six-core chip clocked at 2.60 GHz (3.10 GHz turbo). A notch higher up is the Phenom II X6 1055T, clocked at 2.80 GHz (3.30 GHz turbo), which comes in 95W and 125W variants. At the top is the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, an overclocker-friendly chip that runs at 3.20 GHz (3.60 GHz turbo). A little later in Q3, AMD will add in the Phenom II X6 1075T, clocked at 3.00 GHz (3.50 GHz turbo).

AMD Updates CPU Schedule

AMD updated its CPU market schedules, looking as far as Q4 2010, across various CPU product lines. The update involves phasing out several existing products, adding replacements, and the addition of new products, according to sources in the motherboard industry. To begin with, several Phenom II X4 900 series quad-core processors will be discontinued. The company has reportedly already stopped taking orders for the Phenom II X4 910 (HDX910WFK4DGI, 2.60 GHz), and the 125W Phenom II X4 945 (HDX945FBK4DGI, 3.00 GHz). The latter perhaps is phased out due to its 95W variant (HDX945WFK4DGM). The company will stop taking orders for the 140W Phenom II X4 965 BE in Q1 2010, perhaps because of its 125W variant, for X4 925 around the same time, and for the X4 955 125W in Q2. The company is planning to release a 95W variant of the X4 955 around that time.

The company will also stop taking orders for several Phenom II X4 800 series, X3 700 series, X2 500 series, and Athlon II X4 600 series, and X3 400 series processors, as Phenom II X4 820, Phenom II X3 740 and Phenom II X2 550 will remain. Q4 2009 will see the introduction of the 3.20 GHz Phenom II X2 555, the new Athlon II X4 640 (3.00 GHz, 95W), and the Athlon II X3 445 (3.10 GHz, 95W) will follow in Q2 2010.

AMD Prepares Phenom II X3 740

AMD is updating its Phenom II X3 triple-core processor lineup with the Phenom II X3 740 (PIB model: HDZ740WFK3DGI). With a clock speed of 3.00 GHz, the X3 740 succeeds the X3 720, although a Black Edition branding is expected, it can not be confirmed right now. Based on the 45 nm Heka core, the X3 740 features a total cache of 7.5 MB (3x 512 KB L2 + 6 MB L3). It features a bus multiplier of 15.0x which could be unlocked if it indeed is a Black Edition chip. It has a rated TDP of 95W. Following its launch tentatively in late September, it could end up being priced in the $130~$150 range, like its predecessor when it first hit shelves.

Athlon X2 7750 BE Unlocked to Quad-Core

Earlier this year, a Korean source had pointed out an easy method to enable a fourth core on the Phenom II X3. This was made possible by the way AMD has been designing its triple-core and dual-core processors based on the K10 "Stars" architecture: by disabling one or two cores on the quad-core die. "Sloppy" BIOS coding lead to the Phenom II X3 anomaly. It looks like a somewhat similar mod enables not one, but two cores on the sub-$100 Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition. A Korean technology website has reported a successful unlock of two cores.

The method is similar to that of the Phenom II X3 unlock: using flaws in BIOS code to enable cores, by enabling the "Advanced Clock Calibration" feature in the BIOS setup. The OS, Windows XP SP3, was able to see the processor as a "AMD Phenom(tm) FX-7750", while CPU-Z reads the name string correctly and lists the core count as 4. The motherboard in use is an ASRock A790GX/128M.

Phenom II X4 800 Series Can Address Full 6 MB L3 Cache

While AMD played smart in diverting all its engineering resources in designing only one core: the Deneb / Shanghai, and then carving out umpteen SKUs out of them based on disabling cores, and/or setting L3 cache amounts, its implementation seems to be shoddy, to the least. Weeks ago, a Korean enthusiast found an easy way to unlock the factory-disabled fourth core on some Phenom II X3 (Heka) processors. A fresh report suggests that it is possible to enable the complete L3 cache on the Phenom II X4 800 series processors.

The series is AMD's line of Deneb-based 45 nm quad-core processors with 2 MB of L3 cache disabled, leaving 4 MB that can be addressed by the processor. An enthusiast found the Phenom II X4 810 processor to be spontaneously able to address 6 MB of L3 cache, when used on an ASRock AOD790GX /128M motherboard. The most likely cause of this could be "poorly-coded" motherboard BIOS that is able to see the Deneb core "as is". The motherboard was using BIOS version 1.40, that adds Phenom II support. The additional cache was found to have a positive impact on system performance. Beyond that, the enthusiast did not provide an explanation. After clearing the CMOS of the motherboard, it was able to correctly detect the processor with its intended specifications.

Phenom II X3 Demand Skyrockets Post Core-Unlock Mod

Earlier this week, an article by a Korean computer enthusiast made waves across the internet. The enthusiast found a simple way to unlock the rudimentary core on Phenom II X3 processors, thanks to what AMD now refers to as "buggy BIOS". The article was followed up extensively by global media confirming the procedure. The result: sales of Phenom II X3 processors are seeing an upsurge.

Who wouldn't want to spend $150~170 on a triple-core processor that can be converted to a $200+ worth quad-core chip with decent levels of performance and overclocking headroom? AMD now has a tricky situation at hand. It can cash in on the demand and let the sales stay, but unfortunately, its planning went south looking for Greenland. The company has reporedly asked motherboard vendors to fix the "buggy BIOS". Ironically, in the wake of the DigiTimes report about upsurge in demand, AMD gave another statement, saying that the value Phenom II X3 processors offer speaks for itself.

Phenom II X3 from Week 51 Batch Successfully Unlocks Fourth Core, AMD Steps In

The ability of AMD's Phenom II X3 processors dole out an additional core thanks to flaws in BIOS programming, has been one of the most interesting events in the computer enthusiast industry this month. A simple toggle of an option would unlock the disabled core, appreciating the value of the processor. It was earlier known that only chips belonging to 0904 (fourth week of 2009) batch of the processors would be able to respond to the mod successfully, but now, a fresh finding by German website suggests that even chips made in the 51st week of 2008 batch responded to the mod, and the fourth core could be enabled. used Biostar's TA790GX A2+ motherboard for the feat.

Meanwhile, the only entity that stands to lose due to this rather bizarre "phenomenon" has stepped in. AMD has reportedly requested motherboard manufacturers to not to release motherboards with the "buggy" BIOS, and to devise a fix for the issue immediately. Manufacturers are requested to release fixed BIOS updates. Evidently Phenom II X3 could cannibalize higher quad-core chips by the firm. The company is yet to release an DDR3-supportive quad-core chip based on the Deneb core with the entire 6 MB cache enabled.

Motherboard Vendors Confirm Phenom II X3 Core Unlock, Luck Needed

The ability to unlock the disabled core on Phenom II X3 processor draws parallels with the days when one could soft-mod a NV40-based GeForce 6800 XT to higher models. An article by Korean website Playwares made waves on the internet yesterday, which suggested a very easy method to unlock the disabled core on Phenom II X3. Several users have been able to verify and confirm the method works. While Playwares used a Biostar-made motherboard, people with ACC-supportive motherboards from several makes have been able to get the mod to work. Motherboard vendors performed their own testing to confirm this method, and have had some success so far.

The success of this mod however, depends on a few factors:
  • The disabled core AMD notes to be "unstable", should be fit-enough to be at least enabled and working
  • The motherboard should support the Advanced Clock Calibration feature, which currently only motherboards with AMD's SB750 southbridge chip support
  • The Phenom II X3 processor should belong to the 0904 manufacturing batch, these should be some of the initial batches of the processor, and may still be found with retailers

Phenom II X3 Can be Unlocked to Phenom II X4?

It is a well-known fact that AMD has been carving out triple-core and dual-core Phenom/Phenom II series processors out of complete Agena/Deneb dice with one or two cores disabled. In a fresh revelation, a Korean enthusiast claims to have discovered that it is rather easy to unlock the disabled core on Phenom II X3 processors, provided the motherboard supports the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) feature that is meant to enhance overclocking using AMD's Overdrive software. The enthusiast claims the soft-mod to have worked in his/her case, where a Phenom II X3 710 was paired with a Biostar TA790GX 128M motherboard. The CPU was overclocked to 3.12 GHz, with a vCore setting of 1.37 V.

The method employed: Set the appropriate BIOS setting for the Advanced Clock Calibration feature to "Auto", save settings and restart. The system will be able to deal with the disabled core, and off load some work to it. The processor with the "additional" core was tested to be Prime95 stable and was able to boost 3DMark06 CPU score by as much as 1,000 points. Let the screenshots below speak for themselves:
The method:

AMD Launches Five More AM2+ and AM3 Phenom II Processors

AMD today extended its Phenom II line-up with five new processors, including the industry's only 45nm triple-core CPUs and three new AMD Phenom II quad-core processors. Part of the fire breathing AMD Dragon platform, these new Phenom II chips fit in either AM2+ or AM3 sockets and support DDR2 or next generation DDR3 memory. The new triple-core and quad-core AMD Phenom II processors are available immediately with the following model numbers:
  • AMD Phenom II X4 910 2.6GHz, 6MB of L3 cache
  • AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz, 4MB of L3 cache - $175
  • AMD Phenom II X4 805 2.5GHz, 4MB of L3 cache
  • AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8GHz, 6MB of L3 cache - $145
  • AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz, 6MB of L3 cache - $125
All five Phenom II chips have the same 95W TDP.

Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Tested

In the weeks to come, AMD will introduce its triple-core processors based on the 45 nm Heka core, starting off with the Phenom II X3 700 series. One of the first SKUs in the series would be the overclocker-friendly Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition. Based on the Heka core, it holds three x86 processing cores, 512 KB of L2 cache per core and a shared 6 MB L3 cache. The chip is specified to run at 2.80 GHz (200 MHz x 14.0), and features an unlocked bus frequency multiplier. It comes with a rated TDP of 95W. Turkish website Donanim Haber put an engineering sample carrying its specs to test on both DDR3 and DDR2 platforms based on Gigabyte's GA-MA790FXT-UD5 and MA790FX-DQ6, to find out its mettle.

AMD Readies Six Business-Class Desktop 45nm CPUs

AMD is heading towards kicking off its desktop CPU lineup built on the 45nm manufacturing process this 8th of January. The company also started off with selling certain "business-class" CPUs last year, CPUs that are rated for long MTBF, giving it a little incentive for business/office PC manufacturers for using the processors in their models. The company is looking to do the same with its 45nm desktop CPU lineup, with six business-class CPUs on the cards, sources tell DigiTimes.

The models planned are dual-core Athlon X2 B23 (2.9GHz, 2MB cache) and B21 (2.7GHz, 2MB cache), triple-core Phenom II X3 B73 (2.8GHz, 7.5MB cache) and B71 (2.6GHz, 7.5MB cache), and quad-core Phenom II X4 B93 (2.8GHz 8MB cache) and B91 (2.6GHz 8MB cache). These processors are slated for Q3 2009. Following the introduction of these, the company plans to phase-out its current business class CPUs by issuing last-order notices for them in Q4. These will be issued for Phenom II X4 9850B, 9750B, 9600B and Phenom II X3 8850B, 8750B, 8600B as well as Athlon X2 5600B, 5400B, 5200B, 5000B, 4850B, 4450B and Athlon 1640B.

Tentative Launch Time-Frames for AMD 45nm Desktop CPUs Tabled

A lot has been said about the launch schedules of AMD's upcoming 45nm desktop processors over the last fortnight. While the company itself slated its 45nm desktop CPU range to kick-off on January 8 2009, skeptics think otherwise saying it could take longer for AMD to have sufficiently stocked up inventories in retail channels.

HKEPC compiled a list of tentative order availability. time-frames for the 45nm CPUs sourced from PC manufacturers, which shows that the company launches Phenom II X4 940 on Jan. 8, while most of the product launches are concentrated in the months of February and April, 2009. Starting those months, channel vendors will be able to place bulk orders for those processors, to stock up inventories. Also pictured is the die-shot of AMD Deneb, and a picture showing the differences between the AM3 and AM2+ pin-grids (AM3 on the leftHS, AM2+ on rightHS).

Phenom II Final Nomenclature and Launch-Schedule Revealed

AMD would be releasing its 45nm silicon-based desktop CPUs, built on the Deneb, Propus, Heka, Rana and Regor cores, to bring out quad-core, triple-core and eventually dual-core processors. AMD has discarded the 5-digit number scheme that was earlier reported, and in its place, adopted a three-digit scheme. The quad-core Deneb chips get a 9xx model number and 8xx number depending on the clock-speeds and cache size, Propus-based chips get the Athlon X4 branding.

Heka-based chips get Phenom II X3 7xx branding, with Rana getting Athlon X3 4xx. Regor dual-core trails with Athlon X2 2xx. It is important to note that AMD seems to have made a critical change to the Deneb core, releasing 2 models based on cache-arrangements. The first kind features a total of 8 MB cache (4x 512K L2 + 6M L3) and one with 6 MB total cache. To learn more about the other cores, please refer to our older article getting into details (here).
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